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Preview: Mainz 05 vs. Freiburg - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Bundesliga clash between Mainz 05 and Freiburg, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Two of the surprise packages of the new Bundesliga season go head to head at the Opel Arena on Saturday, as Mainz 05 welcome Freiburg.

The sides find themselves occupying fourth and fifth spots in Germany's top flight after the opening four rounds of matches, despite only being expected to push for mid-table at best before a ball was kicked at the beginning of the campaign.

Match preview

Mainz 05's Karim Onisiwo reacts on January 23, 2021© Reuters

Although there are not many who would have expected to see Mainz sitting in a Champions League spot after the first few matches, there are those in Germany who would have foreseen this excellent start.

This is because of the incredible run that Mainz currently find themselves on under manager Bo Svensson, which stretches back to February time.

After miraculously fighting off what had seemed an inevitable relegation in the 2020-21 campaign, Svensson has overseen his side carry that form into the new season, which has seen them lose only two of their last 15 Bundesliga matches in total.

Losing to newly promoted VfL Bochum in the second round of matches of this campaign was a poor performance and result, and could have been the beginning of a downturn in form after the highs of the past seven months or so.

However, following that up with a 3-0 win over Greuther Furth and a 2-0 victory away to Hoffenheim last weekend has quickly silenced any of those thoughts and views.

Jonathan Burkardt and Marcus Ingvartsen were the scorers against Hoffenheim, in yet another defensively solid performance, which has seen those two goals conceded to Bochum continue to be the only two that Die Nullfunfer have conceded in the league so far.

SC Freiburg's Jonathan Schmid celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on August 8, 2021© Reuters

As for the visitors, they have quietly endured a successful start to the season themselves.

A couple of victories and draws apiece means Freiburg occupy a Europa League spot as it stands, in an unbeaten and best-ever start to a Bundesliga campaign.

In strange fashion, the two matches that Freiburg would have been more likely to win, away to Arminia Bielefeld and home to FC Koln last weekend, they have in fact only drawn.

In addition, the other two ties were against title-challengers Borussia Dortmund and away to rivals VfB Stuttgart, where Freiburg would have probably hoped for a point at best, but have ended up victorious in both instead.

As mentioned above, Koln were the visitors to the Schwarzwald-Stadion last week, and in a below-par performance, the hosts salvaged a point at the death thanks to an own goal from Rafael Czichos, who also had a man advantage for the final 15 minutes.

After being beaten in both Bundesliga encounters last season, Freiburg now head into the weekend looking for revenge against Mainz.

Mainz 05 Bundesliga form:
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W

Mainz 05 form (all competitions):
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W

Freiburg Bundesliga form:
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • D

Freiburg form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • D

Team News

Mainz 05 coach Bo Svensson pictured in February 2021© Reuters

A negative in the win over Hoffenheim for Mainz was the injury blow suffered by captain Moussa Niakhate. The defender limped off with a thigh injury and is expected to be ruled out for the next six weeks.

Alexander Hack is expected to come into the starting lineup in his absence, as he was the replacement from the substitutes bench last weekend.

Fellow defender Aaron Caricol is the only other injury concern for manager Svensson, with him remaining doubtful due to a groin problem.

After scoring on his debut from the bench against Hoffenheim, Ingvartsen may come in from the start against Freiburg, which would be at the expense of Karim Onisiwo.

Meanwhile, Freiburg were missing Nicolas Hofler and Jonathan Schmid for the draw with Koln last week, and the pair continue to be listed as a doubt for the trip to Mainz on Saturday.

Maximilian Eggestein and Lukas Kubler should keep their places in the duos absence, in central midfield and at right-back respectively.

Manager Christian Streich has no other injury concerns to contend with it appears.

Mainz 05 possible starting lineup:
Zentner; St Juste, Bell, Hack; Widmer, Barreiro, Kohr, Lucoqui; Boetius; Burkardt, Ingvartsen

Freiburg possible starting lineup:
Flekken; Kubler, Lienhart, N Schlotterbeck, Gunter; Sallai, Keitel, Eggestein, Grigo; Jeong, Holer

SM words green background

We say: Mainz 05 1-0 Freiburg

Both of these sides have enjoyed tight matches so far this campaign, with neither opening the floodgates in terms of goals scored or conceded. Coupled with the strong starts to the season for both, a hard-fought affair is to be expected on Saturday. We say home advantage will prove important for Mainz to inflict a first defeat of the campaign on visitors Freiburg in a narrow victory.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data

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1Bayern MunichBayern86112982119
2Borussia DortmundDortmund86022214818
3Bayer LeverkusenB. Leverkusen85122112916
5Union BerlinUnion Berlin8431129315
7FC Koln83321314-112
8RB Leipzig8323168811
10Borussia MonchengladbachBorussia M'bach83231011-111
11Mainz 05831488010
13Hertha Berlin83051021-119
14Eintracht FrankfurtFrankfurt8152912-38
15VfL BochumVfL Bochum8215516-117
17Arminia Bielefeld8053411-75
18Greuther Furth8017520-151

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