Having previously been considered Bundesliga title contenders, RB Leipzig must now fight for their Champions League spot when they travel to Mainz on Sunday.
Julian Nagelsmann’s side were held to a 1-1 draw by Freiburg last weekend. They dropped to fourth in the table as a result and are now seven points behind league-leaders Bayern Munich. But perhaps more alarming for Leipzig is the tight race for fourth they now find themselves in.
Both Borussia Monchengladbach and Bayer Leverkusen capitalised on Leipzig’s result to go third and fifth respectively, with just two points separating the three clubs. Fortunately for Leipzig, Gladbach and Leverkusen face off on Saturday, but they need to improve on their current form if they are to take back control.
Sunday’s hosts could prove one of the best opponents Leipzig could wish to face, with Mainz struggling down in 15th. The 05ers appear to be on top of their fight for safety, four points clear of Fortuna Dusseldorf in the relegation play-off spot, but the last time these two sides met, Leipzig ran out 8-0 winners.
A similar scoreline would be a big surprise, especially considering the recent run of draws both sides have experienced, but Mainz will have their work cut out.
Where to watch Mainz v RB Leipzig on TV:
- UK: BT Sport 1
- US: Fox Sports 1
Where to live stream the game:
- UK: Bet365* are streaming this match live for account holders. Those without a Bet365 account already who are interested in streaming Mainz vs RB Leipzig live can take advantage of this service by following the simple steps below.
- Click on this link.
- ‘Join now’ and enter details.
- Log in and fund the new account.
- Pick the desired event from among the ‘live now’ or ‘schedule’ sections in Bet365’s ‘live streaming’ category.
*Geo restrictions apply, 18+ only, must have a funded account, BeGambleAware.
- US: Readers based in the States can try Fubo, who are currently running a free trial offer.
Mainz & RB Leipzig’s confirmed lineups:
— 1. FSV Mainz 05 (@1FSVMainz05) May 24, 2020
- Mainz: Müller; Bruma, St. Juste, Niakhaté; Baku, Kunde, Fernandes, Martín; Boëtius, Quaison; Onisiwo
There’s no place in the line-up for Jean-Philippe Mateta though Jeffrey Bruma does start having been an unused substitute last weekend.
— RB Leipzig (@DieRotenBullen) May 24, 2020
- RB Leipzig: Gulácsi; Upamecano, Klostermann, Halstenberg; Laimer; Sabitzer, Nkunku, Kampl, Olmo; Werner, Poulsen
Dayot Upamecano returns after missing Leipzig’s draw with Freiburg last weekend due to suspension with Nordi Mukiele dropping out.
Players to watch:
- Mainz: Having missed the draw with Koln due to suspension, Jean-Philippe Mateta is expected to return to the starting XI on Sunday, ahead of former Premier League striker Ji Dong-won. The 22-year-old’s season only got started in December as he missed the first half of the campaign through injury, and he was eased back into the Mainz side – scoring two goals and recording an assist in 10 appearances so far. But now, back from suspension, Mateta looks to be playing for a move away, having confirmed his intentions to leave Mainz this summer – ready to take the next step in his career. The Frenchman only joined Mainz in 2018, scoring 13 goals in his debut Bundesliga season – a record for a Frenchman, beating the likes of Jean-Pierre Pain and Franck Ribery – to earn interest from Watford, Newcastle, Southampton and Everton, according to reports, although Mainz held firm. Whether or not they can repeat that trick in the next transfer window is unclear. “The fact is that many top clubs are interested in him,” said Mainz sporting director last month, adding: “But it’s also clear that we absolutely want to keep him.” If he does leave, he’ll do so without the help of an agent. “Many agents call me. I have a lawyer,” he previously told France Football. “I mean agents just make money doing nothing. If I have to have one, it has to be someone from my family.”
- RB Leipzig: Yussuf Poulsen was the hero for Leipzig against Freiburg last weekend, scoring the equaliser when Die Roten Bullen looked destined in be frustrated in front of goal. It was just his fourth Bundesliga goal of the season, a big comedown having scored 15 in 2018/19, but also one that showed just how important the Dane has been to Leipzig over the years. Barring any late injury, Poulsen is in line to make his 250th competitive appearance for Leipzig. This would make him the first player to reach that milestone and he’s only 25, having journeyed with the Saxony club from the third tier. Poulsen will be desperate to mark it with a win, and potentially another goal, although he is often happy to play second fiddle to talisman Timo Werner, an understanding that makes the duo so devastating.
Scoreline prediction: Mainz 0-2 RB Leipzig
Bundesliga 2019/20 table and recent form:
- Mainz: DDWLD
- RB Leipzig: DDDWW
→ Bayern (58 points)
→ Dortmund (54 points)
↑ Gladbach (52 points)
↓ RB Leipzig (51 points)
→ Bayer Leverkusen (50 points)
B04 make it five teams with a half-century of points after 26 games. pic.twitter.com/WRFuSxcf4a
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) May 18, 2020