Bayer Leverkusen will be looking to get their season up and running when they travel to Mainz on Saturday at 2:30pm.
Mainz XI: Zentner; Niakhate, St. Juste, Kilian, Brosinski; Latza, Kunde; Oztunali, Boetius, Burkardt; Mateta.
Bayer Leverkusen XI: Hradecky; L Bender, S Bender, Tapsoba, Sinkgraven; Aranguiz; Bailey, Amiri, Demirbay, Diaby; Alario.
Where to watch Mainz vs Bayer Leverkusen on TV:
- UK: N/A
- US: ESPN+
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Mainz vs Bayer Leverkusen build-up, pre-match team news & previous line-ups:
Peter Bosz’s side are currently unbeaten in their opening three Bundesliga games this season, but they have all been draws, coming against Wolfsburg, RB Leipzig and Stuttgart. That form has Leverkusen in 14th and just three points outside the relegation zone, though that is rarely too important at this early stage in a season.
Regardless, they will be hoping they can get their first win this weekend against a Mainz side that have lost all three of their opening games. Scoring twice and conceding 11 so far, Mainz have lost to Leipzig, Stuttgart and Union Berlin and currently occupy 17th. They sacked Achim Beierlorzer after their second game, replacing him with Jan-Moritz Lichte, but things don’t look like getting better immediately.
Leverkusen have won each of the past five Bundesliga games against Mainz, scoring 10 and conceding just once, their best current record against any side in Germany’s top flight.
Will that run continue?
- Mainz (vs Union Berlin): Zentner; Mwene, St. Juste, Hack, Brosinski; Latza, Kunde; Onisiwo, Boetius, Quaison; Mateta.
- Bayer Leverkusen (vs Stuttgart): Hradecky; Arias*, Tapsoba, Bender, Sinkgraven; Aranguiz; Bellarabi, Demirbay, Wirtz, Diaby; Schick*.
Mainz have come through the international break unscathed, with Jeremiah St. Juste expected to recover from a shoulder problem, while they also welcome back Moussa Niakhate from suspension. But the same cannot be said for Leverkusen.
Bosz will be without Schick, Florian Wirtz and Santiago Arias, the latter of whom suffered a serious ankle injury while with Colombia and has been ruled out long-term.
Players to watch:
- Mainz: Jean-Philippe Mateta. Mainz have scored two goals in the Bundesliga this season, netting against RB Leipzig and Stuttgart. Mateta has played a role in both of those goals and he will be key once again if Mainz are to have any hopes of getting their first points of the season. The Frenchman scored Mainz’s first goal of the season against Leipzig, thanks to a Robin Quiason assist, and repaid the favour a week later, setting up his teammate. It’s this kind of partnership that Mainz will be looking to build on, particularly this weekend, where Mateta should lead the line.
- Bayer Leverkusen: Kerem Demirbay. Bosz has been rocked by the international break and while Lucas Alario is expected to start up top, Leverkusen will be relying on Demiraby. The German midfielder has scored one of Leverkusen’s two goals so far this season, but he will be needed for his creativity more than anything else. Demirbay has created five chances in the Bundesliga this season, more than any other Leverkusen player. And although he is yet to provide an assist, they will come once Leverkusen find their footing in front of goal. Could Alario be the one to finally get Demirbay on the assists board?