By Ben Sully @SullyBen
Two sides level on 29 points will go head-to-head at the MEWA Arena on Friday evening when Mainz 05 face Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Since returning from the winter break, Mainz have only lost two of their six league games. Neither of those defeats would have offered Bo Svensson too much concern as they took place against title-chasing Borussia Dortmund and Union Berlin.
Impressively, Mainz have won their last two games, beating Augsburg 3-1 before claiming a 3-2 victory over Bayer Leverkusen last weekend. Mainz gave up the lead on two occasions against Leverkusen after goals from Anthony Caci and Leandro Barreiro were cancelled out, but they eventually prevailed thanks to a Marcus Ingvartsen penalty.
Although level on points, Mainz are currently one place behind Gladbach, who occupy eighth position. The hosts will now attempt to claim a third consecutive victory which would move them above their opponents.
Mainz can take confidence from the fact that they have not lost any of their four Bundesliga meetings with Gladbach in Svensson’s tenure. They also have the chance to complete a league double after winning 1-0 in the reverse fixture earlier this season.
The hosts have no fresh injury concerns ahead of Friday’s encounter, although Jonathan Burkardt remains sidelined with a knee injury.
After playing out a goalless draw against basement side Schalke and losing 4-1 to relegation-threatened Hertha BSC, confidence would have been at a low point in the Gladbach dressing room.
However, they responded in style last weekend, claiming a 3-2 victory over reigning champions Bayern Munich. Gladbach quickly took advantage of Dayot Upamecano’s early red card, taking the lead through Lars Stindl in the 13th minute. Eric Maxim Choupa-Moting restored parity before half time, but Daniel Farke’s side took full control thanks to goals from Jonas Hofmann and Marcus Thuram. Although Mathys Tel pulled a goal back in stoppage time, Gladbach saw out the remainder of the contest to extend their unbeaten run in competitive meetings with Bayern to five games.
With nine points separating them from the top six, achieving European qualification appears to be out of reach, but they will be keen to finish in the top half of the Bundesliga table.
While Die Fohlen have only lost one of their last five home league games, they have struggled on their travels this season, winning only one of their 10 Bundesliga away games.
Julian Weigl is set for a spell on the sidelines after suffering an ankle injury in the victory over Bayern. After sustaining a meniscus tear in training, Tony Jantschke will also miss out.
Backup goalkeeper Jan Olschowsky has a tendon problem in his thumb and will be replaced on the bench by Tobias Sippel. Nathan N’Goumou, meanwhile, is a doubt after picking up a knock.