Bayer Leverkusen will look to move back into the Champions League places when they host struggling Mainz on Saturday at 2:30pm (UK time). Peter Bosz’s
Bayer Leverkusen will look to move back into the Champions League places when they host struggling Mainz on Saturday at 2:30pm (UK time).
Peter Bosz’s men have lacked consistency recently and now find themselves outside the top four, while Mainz have seen an improvement in results but still have work to do if they’re to climb out of the relegation zone.
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Where to watch Leverkusen vs Mainz on TV:
- UK: N/A
- US: ESPN+
Scoreline prediction: Leverkusen 3-1 Mainz
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Leverkusen vs Mainz build-up, previous line-ups & injury news:
A fantastic start to the season, which even saw them top the table at various points, has faded for Leverkusen, who now face a battle to jump back into the Champions League places.
Peter Bosz’s men managed a morale-boosting 5-2 win against Stuttgart in their last match but that represents only the second victory across Die Werkself’s last eight Bundesliga matches.
By contrast, Mainz have enjoyed an upturn in recent weeks, picking up seven of their 13 points so far this season in their last five games, starting with a 1-1 draw against Borussia Dortmund and including an impressive 3-2 win over RB Leipzig.
Bo Svensson’s side still remain four points adrift of safety but with Hertha Berlin in freefall above them, coupled with their new-found habit of picking up points against Germany’s big guns, Mainz cannot be written off in the relegation battle just yet.
- Leverkusen (vs Stuttgart): Hradecky; Fosu-Mensah*, Tah, Tapsoba, Sinkgraven; Wirtz, Aranguiz, Demirbay; Bailey, Schick, Diaby.
- Mainz (vs their previous opponents): Zentner; St. Juste, Bell, Niakhate; Da Costa, Barreiro, Kohr, Mwene; Latza; Szalai, Onisiwo.
Karim Bellarabi, Lars Bender, Mitchell Weiser, Paulinho, Santiago Arias and Julian Baumgartlinger all remain sidelined for Leverkusen, while Timothy Fosu-Mensah also picked up a knock against Stuttgart and is expected to sit this one out.
Robin Quaison is still out for Mainz, who should otherwise have a fully fit squad to choose from.
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Players to watch:
- Leverkusen: The 5-2 win over Stuttgart brought about a number of impressive performances but as has been the case throughout this campaign, few caught the eye more for Leverkusen than Florian Wirtz. Still only 17, the German wonderkid scored his side’s fourth goal of the game to make it 4-1 at the time, making it six strikes across all competitions for the season so far. That is an incredible record for a youngster who is primarily a creator, as evidenced by his five assists this season, but more striking is the fact that four of those goals have come in his last eight games. Already impressive, Wirtz is improving at a rate of knots. Only bottom side Schalke have conceded more goals than Mainz in the Bundesliga this season and Wirtz will be eyeing that generous defence eagerly this weekend.
- Mainz: With Jean-Philippe Mateta departed for Crystal Palace and Robin Quaison sidelined, Mainz have had to be creative when it comes to finding goals recently. After all, that duo are responsible for nine of the team’s 19 goals this season with seven and two, respectively. Stepping forth to pick up the slack has been none other than centre-back Moussa Niakhate. After failing to score all season to this point, the French defender has netted three goals in his last two appearances (two from set-pieces, one from the penalty spot), including a brace as Mainz pulled off a shock 3-2 win over RB Leipzig. His latest strike was the winner against Union Berlin, a result which keeps Mainz in touch with those outside the relegation zone. This already makes him Mainz’s highest goalscorer in the Bundesliga this season among players still active at the club — Svensson will be hoping he can pull off some more heroics against Leverkusen this weekend.
Bundesliga 2020/21 recent form:
- Leverkusen: WLLWL
- Mainz: WLWLD
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