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  • Preview: RB Leipzig vs. Mainz 05 - Match Insights & Analysis
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  • 20 March 2024

Preview: RB Leipzig vs. Mainz 05 - Match Insights & Analysis

When Mainz 05 visits RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga on Saturday, they'll be trying to extend their current winning streak to six games. Meanwhile, the hosts are one point off of the Champions League qualifying spots going into the weekend.

Match preview

Leipzig did, in fact, enter the most recent international break on the heels of some disheartening performances, which included away losses to Borussia Dortmund and VfL Bochum in the Bundesliga in between a 6-0 Champions League loss to Manchester City.

Nonetheless, Die Roten Bullen's performance at home under Marco Rose's leadership has been consistently commanding since his appointment in September of last year. The 46-year-old has led his team to eight victories from ten league games at Red Bull Arena.

Leipzig should thus be confident of defeating Mainz this weekend, even in light of their next opponents' recent stellar play. To get back into the top four, Rose's team is depending on one of Union Berlin or Freiburg to make a mistake. 

Leipzig's season is not only about making it into Europe's top competition; they have a home match against Dortmund in the DFB-Pokal quarterfinals later this week. Although Rose will undoubtedly be driven to make sure the team reaches that main goal for the fifth consecutive season after suffering a terrible start to the campaign under his predecessor.

After finishing seventh in the former Denmark international's first full season in charge, Mainz is hoping to establish itself as a reliable top-half Bundesliga squad under Bo Svensson.

With an impressive 17 points from their last eight games before the international break, Die Nullfunfer look well set to achieve that goal, with a healthy six-point lead over Borussia Monchengladbach and Werder Bremen directly beneath them in the upper reaches of the bottom half of the table.

In fact, a run of four straight wins was accompanied by consecutive 1-1 ties with Freiburg and Hertha Berlin, and Svensson and his team are probably going to be content with a rematch of that result this coming weekend in Leipzig.

But, depending on other outcomes, a surprise victory might see them pass Wolfsburg and Bayer Leverkusen into seventh place, which may be sufficient to get them into the Europe Conference League for the next season. 

Team News

With Christopher Nkunku sidelined for the duration of the international break due to a hamstring injury, Leipzig seems set to be without the attacker for France. However, he could be cleared to play against Dortmund on Wednesday in the matchday squad.

ACL injuries have long been known to have ended Peter Gulasci's season, and Xaver Schlager and Yussuf Poulsen will miss most of April with ligament and calf problems, respectively.

After scoring the first goal against Norway, Dani Olmo recovered sufficiently from his injury to start on the left flank for Spain, freeing up Timo Werner to operate more centrally with Andre Silva in attack.

Meanwhile, a significant knee injury will prevent Jonathan Burkardt from playing for Mainz. Although the gifted 22-year-old hasn't played since before the World Cup started in November, he may make a comeback later this month.

Karim Onisiwo, who scored a vital equaliser in injury time against Freiburg in his team's most recent game, is also doubtful to play because of a persistent knee ailment.

If Onisiwo is judged too injured to start for the visitors, Ludovic Ajorque will lead the line as always, closely followed by Marcus Ingvartsen and Lee Jae-sung.

Possible starting lineup for RB Leipzig: Laimer, Haidara; Szoboszlai, Olmo; Silva, Werner; Blaswich, Henrichs, Orban, Gvardiol, Raum

Possible starting lineup for Mainz 05 is as follows: Zentner, Lee, Ingvartsen, Ajorque, Bell, Fernandes, Hanche-Olsen, Barreiro, Stach, and Caci.

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