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  • 17 January 2024

Bundesliga Showdown: Mainz 05 vs. Union Berlin – Clash of Titans in German Football

On Friday, Mainz 05 will play Union Berlin in a pivotal match close to the bottom of the Bundesliga standings to start the weekend.

 

Given how close the race is now at the bottom of the Bundesliga rankings, a win would be invaluable in this match between the 16th and 15th places. A draw would not be helpful for either team.

 

Match preview

 

After drew 1-1 with Wolfsburg to extend their losing streak to seven games upon their return from winter break, Mainz finds itself just outside of the automatic relegation positions going into this matchup based on goal differential.

 

In order to avoid beginning 2024 with a loss, Mainz needed a second-half equaliser from Silvan Widmer after they had only won one game all season—a 2-0 victory at home against RB Leipzig in early November.

 

Their current winless streak has cost them dearly, as they have missed the opportunity to get out of the bottom two. They have lost to both Koln and Darmstadt below them.

 

Their 15-year tenure in the first division is now in jeopardy, particularly given their poor match-winning performance.

 

That's mostly because of a poor offensive, since only Koln has scored less goals than their total of 14 goals in their first 17 games.

 

Despite their difficulties, Union Berlin is not the best opponent for Jan Siewert's team to play next; in the nine prior encounters, they have only won once.

 

The famous Urs Fischer's reign came to an end as a result of Union's disastrous run of results as a professional team, and the visitors also bring strong form into the match.

 

After Nenad Bjelica entered the team, they had already equaled the number of points they had gained in the season's first 12 games after just four games.

 

Union pulled out of the relegation zone for the first time in three months after defeating relegation rivals Koln just before the Christmas break. Last weekend, they bounced back by holding a formidable Freiburg team to a 0-0 draw away from home.

 

Even though they played one fewer game than the rest of the league, it was their ninth blank of the season in just 16 games, ending a six-game losing streak on the road in the Bundesliga.

 

Bjelica will want to improve their away performance, as they have only won once in 14 games, and that was back in August against Darmstadt, who are now in last position.

 

More so since a victory here would put the visitors above Bochum for a little period of time and maybe keep them six points ahead of danger.

 

Team News

Jae-sung Lee, a South Korean international, will be absent from Mainz for a few weeks while he is representing his nation at the Asian Cup.

 

After missing the draw against Wolfsburg due to a sickness, Stefan Bell may make a comeback, while Nelson Weiper, a youngster, is still out following knee surgery back in September.

 

On the first day of play, Kevin Behrens scored a hat-trick as Union defeated Mainz 4-1, but he was benched when they resumed play.

 

After signing from Copenhagen in the summer, Mikkel Kaufmann got his first start for Union ahead of Behrens due to Sheraldo Becker's injury and David Datro Fofana's departure from the team.

 

However, Union will be without two important midfield players for some time due to injuries to Rani Khedira and Aissa Laidouni, who is playing for Tunisia in the Africa Cup of Nations.

 

Kevin Vogt joined the team from Hoffenheim to cover for Leonardo Bonucci, who left for Fenerbahce after a particularly bad half-season. Vogt made his debut last week against Freiburg.

 

Potential starting lineup for Mainz 05 is as follows: Zentner; Van den Berg, Kohr, Caci; Widmer, Papella, Kruass, Mwene; Fernandes, Onisiwo, Burkardt

 

Potential starting lineup for Union Berlin: Ronnow; Haberer, Kaufmann, Volland; Juranovic, Kral, Aaronson, Gosens; Knoche, Vogt, Diogo Leite


 

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