The latest official statistics publish by Germany's Süddeutsche Zeitung confirm that 32 German districts now qualify as corona-virus "hot sports". This constitutes a marked increase from 23 on Sunday.
Mainz currently reports a running seven day average of 60.85 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants. As a result, the Bundesliga's Nullfünfter will once again play before largely empty stands.
|Opel Arena.||Photo: Steffen Prößdorf, CC BY-SA 4.0|
Some 3,400 Pfälzer fans were in attendance for Mainz's last home match; a 1-4 defeat against Stuttgart in the 2020/21 Bundesliga's second round. As late as last week, plans to welcome in 6,800 home supporters for the coming fixture against Bayer Leverkusen remained in the works.
Mainz sought to take full advantage of the nationwide 20-percent-capacity rule in its second home match of the season. Unfortunately the COIVD infection rates preclude such a possibility at the Opel Arena.
The Rheinhessen announced that only 250 supporters will be allowed through the turnstiles for this weekend's encounter. Mainz, like Köln, can expect further municipal lockdown measures in the face of the rising rates.
Mainz made no administrative moves during the international break. The controversy saddled club stuck with interim manager Jan-Moritz Lichte despite sporting director Rouven Schröder's indications that a permanent replacement would be installed.
The winless Pfälzer return to Bundesliga play following a 0-4 shellacking by 1. FC Union Berlin in Lichte's third round debut. A recent training boycott on behalf of the players led to the dismissal of trainer Achim Beierlorzer after only ten months.
Veteran striker Adam Szalai, whose demotion to the second team sparked the player revolt, has since been allowed to rejoin first-team training. There have been no indications that he might be selected for a matchday squad anytime soon.