Mainz returned to the right track as they brought one point from Hannover and Thomas Tuchel’s men are hoping to return to winning ways. Hoffenheim, on the other hand, ended the two-match winning run as they lost at home to Werder Bremen and are now looking to make amends for the disappointing result.
Mainz back on track
Mainz have undergone a real renaissance under talented coach Thomas Tuchel, who has led the team to unimagined height last season. The seven-match winning run at the start of last year’s Bundesliga campaign was something that Mainz fans will remember for years to come, just like team’s fifth-place finish from last season. Many people believed that die Nullfunfer would struggle in their second season in top flight, especially after selling Andre Shurrle and Christian Fuchs, but Tuchel again managed to sign a host of very good players, who were available at a cut-back price. Pospech, Choupo-Moting, Risse, Stieber, Ujah and Fathi are already considered important part of the squad, while latest signing from Schalke Mario Gavranovic is expected to add an extra dimension to the attack. Following the unlucky defeat to Gaz Metan in Europa League, Mainz beat Bayer Leverkusen and Freiburg in their two opening games before losing to Schalke despite taking the two-goal lead. One point from difficult away game at Hannover helped the players restore some of the lost confidence, and they are now expected to continue the rich vein of form against Hoffenheim.
Striker Sami Allagui should be fit to play after suffering a scare following his return from international duty, while Eugen Polanski is a doubt with an ankle problem. Mario Gavranovic will be in contention to make a competitive debut, but Adam Szalai and Florian Heller remain sidelined.
Hoffenheim lacking consistency
Having finished last league campaign in 11th place, Hoffenheim are clearly looking to show some improvement this term, although the first signs are not that positive. The squad are practically the same as last season, but coach Holger Stanislawski cannot seem to get the maximum out of this crop of players. Back to back wins over Borussia Dortmund and Augsburg more than made up for the opening defeat to Hannover, but home loss to Werder has got to be regarded as a disappointing result. After losing all four clashes with Mainz in Bundesliga, Hoffenheim won’t fancy their chances against die Nullfunfer this time, especially as coach Stanislawski faces a real selection headache. The visitors will especially have problems up front, meaning that they might need to keep a clean sheet if they want to get something out of this game and that doesn’t look like a realistic possibility.
Sead Salihovic picked up a knee injury on international duty and he is definitely out, as are Vedad Ibisevic, Matthias Jaissle, Tobias Weis, Boris Vukcevic and Manuel Gulde. Ryan Babel, Edson Braafheid and Andreas Ibertsberger are all doubtful, whereas Chinedu Obasi is tired after traveling across the world during the international break.
Thomas Tuchel wasted no time in integrating new players into the squad, meaning that Mainz are again a genuine contender for European places, with 7 points from first 4 games the perfect proof. Hoffenheim, on the other hand, are on poor spirits following the home defeat to Werder and with so many first team regulars missing, they have nothing to hope for from this game.
Our prediction: Home win
Odds: 2.25 (5/4)
Bookmaker: Victor Chandler