Bundesliga Weekend Preview: Round Seven - Mainz Look To Make History Against Hoffenheim

Mainz could set a Bundesliga record if they beat Hoffenheim, but the headline match will be Bayern - Dortmund.
Friday (all times local)
20:30 - Hannover - St Pauli

15:30 - Borussia Moenchengladbach - Wolfsburg
15:30 - Hamburg - Kaiserslautern
15:30 - Mainz - Hoffenheim
15:30 - Nuernberg - Schalke
15:30 - Freiburg - Koeln

15:30 - Stuttgart - Eintracht Frankfurt
15:30 - Bayer Leverkusen - Werder Bremen
17:30 - Borussia Dortmund - Bayern Munich

Hannover - St Pauli

Just months after narrowly avoiding relegation, Hannover have had a miraculous start to their campaign. Now third in the league table, the reds are wasting no time in avoiding relegation, and will surely look for three points against rivals St Pauli. Carlitos remains months away from a return to action, and will be joined on the sidelines by injured quartet Mario Eggimann, Leon Andreasen, Altin Lala and Didier Ya Konan.

With a respectful seven points from six matches, promoted side St Pauli have done well to start the season, but are far from safe in the struggle for survival. The counter culture club lost 3-1 to Dortmund in their last outing and will hope for a good bit of improvement as they face off against Hannover. Marcel Eger, Richard Sukuta-Pasu, Fabio Morena and Carsten Rothenbach will be missing from their matchday squad due to injuries.

Borussia Moenchengladbach - Wolfsburg

September was a very rough month for Gladbach. After beating Leverkusen 6-3, they lost three matches by an aggregate 13-1, before drawing 2-2 away to Schalke last week. Ahead of this weekend’s challenge coach Michael Frontzeck has ruled out Dante, Christian Dorda and Tony Jantschke due to injuries. Additionally, Roel Brouwers will miss out on the action due to a suspension.

Three wins on the trot have seen Wolfsburg climb from the depths of the relegation battle to a respectable sixth in the Bundesliga table. The 2009 Bundesliga champions will hope to extend their run of fine form this weekend, but will have to do so without the services of Arne Friedrich and Karim Ziani.

Hamburg - Kaiserslautern

Winless since round two, Hamburg are 10 points behind Mainz and are rapidly watching their title hopes slip away. The northern side will hope to end their slide, but will be without injured contingent Dennis Aogo, Miroslav Stepanek, Tunay Torun, Romeo Castelen, Jose Paolo Guerrero, Mladen Petric and Hueng-Min Son.

Promoted side Kaiserslautern beat defending champions Bayern in their second match of the year, but have since gone winless, losing three of their last four matches. The red devils face a tough challenge in Hamburg, and will have to do without Jan Simunek, Chadlj Amri and Stiven Rivic.

Mainz - Hoffenheim

Mainz earned an emphatic 2-1 victory away to Bayern in round six, extending their perfect streak and reaffirming their deserved table-topping status. Thomas Tuchel’s side will look to make history with a seventh consecutive win to start the season, although the Oh Fives will have to manage without Heinz Mueller and Jan Simak, who are still short of fitness

Hoffenheim were flawless to start the season, but have dropped points in each of their last three matches, and slipped to fourth in the Bundesliga table. Still, both owner Dietmar Hopp and striker Demba Ba announced this week that they are fully convinced their team will take three points away to Mainz. It will be a difficult task, and if they are to do so, the village side will have to do without Matthias Jaissle and Chinedu Obasi.

Click here to read the full match preview.

Nuernberg - Schalke

Nuernberg may be in the lower half of the table, but have proven quite difficult to beat. Having drawn three and won one match thus far, they will likely hope for a point against resurgent Schalke. Albert Bunjaku, Christian Eigler and Rubin Rafael Okotie have been ruled out of the Bavarians’ matchday squad.

They started off the year in abysmal form, but little by little, Schalke have gained confidence. Wednesday’s Champions League victory over Benfica suggests that Felix Magath’s men have turned the corner. Ahead of this weekend’s clash, Schalke will be without Tim Hoogland, Christian Pander and Levan Kenia.

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Freiburg - Koeln

Since winning three of their first four matches, Freiburg have lost twice, but remain in a comfortable standing in the Bundesliga. Robin Dutt’s men will hope to further their distance to the relegation zone this weekend, but will be missing Heiko Butscher, Pavel Krmas, Ivica Banovic, Johannes Flum, Tommy Bechmann and Kisho Yano due to injuries.

Koeln have gone against the Bundesliga’s attack-based trend, defending deep and often playing for draws. Their strategy has drawn criticism, and with just five points from six matches, Zvonimir Soldo’s men will be keen to earn their second victory of the season on Saturday. Injured contingent Kevin McKenna, Christopher Schorch, Adil Chihi, Sebastian Freis and Manasseh Ishiaku will be missing from Soldo’s squad.

Stuttgart - Eintracht Frankfurt

Stuttgart earned an impressive 2-1 victory away to Odense in midweek, but remain last in the Bundesliga table. As he looks to guide his team away from the relegation zone, coach Christian Gross will have some tough selection decisions to make. Mauro Camoranesi is suspended, and Philipp Degen, Johan Audel, Daniel Didavi and Timo Gebhart have all been ruled out with injuries.

Frankfurt ended a two-match slide last with last week’s 2-0 victory over Nuernberg lifting themselves from the bottom of the Bundesliga table. Michael Skibbe’s side will hope to build momentum at the expense of a faltering Stuttgart side, but will not have the services of injured duo Zlatan Bajramovic and Sebastian Rode.

Bayer Leverkusen - Werder Bremen

An understaffed Leverkusen earned a 1-1 draw against Atletico Madrid on Thursday, but will be disappointed not to have taken three points. They won big against Stuttgart last weekend and will hope to continue their climb up the Bundesliga table with a victory over Bremen. Renato Augusto is doubtful for the match, while Gonzalo Castro, Michael Ballack and Stefan Kiessling are definite absentees.

A brilliant 3-2 victory over Hamburg just days before a humiliating 4-0 defeat to Inter - Werder Bremen’s last two results have perfectly illustrated just how unstable their team is at the moment. Coach Thomas Schaaf will have to hope his players get up on the right sides of their respective beds on Sunday morning. Naldo, CHristian Vander, Sebastian Boenisch, Clemens Fritz, Claudio Pizarro and skipper Torsten Frings have all been ruled out of contention to play.

Borussia Dortmund - Bayern Munich

Dortmund had a perfect six-game winning streak snapped by Sevilla in a bitter 1-0 loss on Thursday. The Germans were dominant throughout the match, but fell victims to a cruel refereeing decision, the post, and their visitors finishing the one chance they had at the end of the first half. Juergen Klopp’s side will hope to rebound with victory over Bayern, but will lack Dede, Tamas Hajnal, Sebastian Kehl, Florian Kringe and Mohamed Zidan. Mario Goetze, who missed the Sevilla match with a thigh strain, is also questionable.

Bayern have struggled domestically, but they came back from a goal behind to earn a 2-1 victory in Basel on Tuesday, a result that provided a much-needed boost of confidence. On Sunday, the defending Bundesliga champions have perhaps their toughest domestic test to date. They will have to manage without a lengthy list of injured stars, including Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery, Diego Contento and David Alaba. Hamit Altintop is also doubtful, and will probably start on the bench at best.

Click here to read the full match preview.

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