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

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Bundesliga clash between Union Berlin and Mainz 05, including team news and predicted lineups.

Mainz 05 will be looking to recover from their crushing 5-0 loss to RB Leipzig when they travel to Union Berlin for Wednesday's Bundesliga clash.

The home side also suffered a humbling defeat last time out, as Union were swept aside by local rivals Hertha Berlin 4-0 to slip further down the table.


Match preview

Union Berlin boss Urs Fischer pictured in October 2019© Reuters

For all the promise that Union have shown during their inaugural campaign in the Bundesliga, the capital side were no match for Hertha last Friday at the Olympiastadion.

Indeed, Urs Fischer's side were taught a footballing lesson by their local rivals and now find themselves 13th in the table on 30 points heading into the visit of Mainz.

Hertha subjected Union to their fourth defeat on the bounce in all competitions last time out, and Fischer's side have only won one of their last five fixtures in Germany's top flight.

Eintracht Frankfurt, who were the last side to suffer defeat against Union in February, are the only other team in the division currently on a three-game losing streak.

The Bundesliga new boys are in a strong position to avoid a swift return to the second division, however, although 16th-placed Fortuna Dusseldorf could move to within three points of Union with a victory over Schalke on Wednesday.

Nevertheless, Fischer will be encouraged by his side's home form as six of Union's nine victories this season have come in front of their own fans.

Mainz 05 coach Achim Beierlorzer pictured in December 2019© Reuters

As far as Mainz are concerned, coming up against an in-form Leipzig side would be no easy feat for any team right now, but Julian Nagelsmann's men simply outclassed Mainz in their own territory.

Timo Werner's hat-trick subjected Mainz to their 16th Bundesliga defeat of the season - a result which leaves them in 15th on 27 points - three above the relegation playoff spot after 27 games.

The outlook will not fill the Mainz faithful with confidence heading into the business end of the season; basement side SC Paderborn are the only team with more defeats than Achim Beierlorzer's men, and Mainz have shipped 60 goals this term - more than any other side.

Nevertheless, Beierlorzer's side did manage to string together a three-game unbeaten streak before the defeat to Leipzig, and they have only lost twice in their last five league matches on the road.

However, owing to Union's superior goal difference, Mainz would have to record a victory by five goals in order to leapfrog their opponents in the table.

Union Berlin Bundesliga form: LWDLLL
Union Berlin form (all competitions): WDLLLL

Mainz 05 Bundesliga form: DLWDDL


Team News

RB Leipzig's Lukas Klostermann and Mainz 05's Robin Quaison in action in May 2020© Reuters

As the Bundesliga fixture schedule becomes all the more demanding after a two-month suspension, both managers will be expected to tinker with their sides for the midweek clash.

With regards to Union, defender Keven Schlotterbeck is likely to return to the side after missing out the defeat to Hertha through suspension.

Sheraldo Becker and Akaki Gogia remain out injured, but Yunus Malli could be ready to start after appearing off the bench against Hertha last Friday.

Mainz only have one injury concern to contend with, with Robin Zentner out for the season with a knee problem. Jean-Philippe Mateta is expected to start up top with Robin Quaison behind him.

Beierlorzer has been boosted by the return of Danny Latza and Stefan Bell, both of whom are in contention to feature for the trip to the German capital.

Union Berlin possible starting lineup:
Gikiewicz; Friedrich, Schlotterbeck, Subotic; Trimmel, Gentner, Andrich, Lenz; Malli, Bulter; Andersson

Mainz 05 possible starting lineup:
Muller; Baku, Niakhate, St. Juste, Brosinski; Boetius, Latza, Kunde, Oztunali; Quaison; Mateta


Sports Mole Logo

We say: Union Berlin 1-0 Mainz 05

Even though Union will be without the support of their loyal crowd for some time to come, Fischer's men have produced some impressive performances on home soil this season. As a result, we are struggling to see a Mainz side lacking in confidence coming away with anything on Wednesday evening.



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Thursday's key events


ROWING
· Comeback queen and super-mum Helen Glover goes for her third Olympic gold alongside Polly Swann in the women's pair final (1.30am)
· There is also a medal on offer for GB pair Emily Craig and Imogen Grant in the lightweight women's double scull final (2.10am)

SWIMMING
· As second-fastest qualifier for the final, Team GB's James Wilby is among the medal contenders in the men's 200m breaststroke (2.44am)
· Alys Thomas takes part in the women's 200m butterfly final, although he faces a difficult task to challenge for the medals (3.28am)
· Caeleb Dressel of the USA has been touted by some as the successor to Michael Phelps, and he has the chance to notch up a fourth Olympic gold in the men's 100m freestyle final (3.37am)

RUGBY SEVENS
· After Team GB's men narrowly missed out on a medal, the women get their campaign underway against the Russian Olympic Committee (3am) and New Zealand (10.30am)

HOCKEY
· It is a Great Britain vs. Netherlands double-header, with the men up first in Pool B (4.15am)
· Most eyes will be on the women's showdown between the two nations, though, as Netherlands - the world's best team - look to gain revenge on GB for defeat in the 2016 Olympic final (11am)

CANOE SLALOM
· Mallory Franklin takes part in the women's canoe semi-final, and will hope to do enough to qualify for the final later in the day (6am-8.45am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· With Simone Biles now out of the women's all-around final, the competition has been blown wide open. Team GB twins Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova are among those taking part (11.50am-2.05pm)

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