VfB Stuttgart vs 1. FSV Mainz 05 Preview: Swabians and Die Nullfünfer in search of their first league wins of the season

VfB Stuttgart vs 1. FSV Mainz 05 Preview: Swabians and Die Nullfünfer in search of their first league wins of the season

Both sides are in search of their first wins of the season after losing their opening games, but will the points be shared or is one side ready to take home all three?

jack-mcgraghan
Jack McGraghan

VfB Stuttgart host 1. FSV Mainz 05 at the Mercedes-Benz Arena on Saturday afternoon as both sides go in search of their first league win of the season.

Despite emerging victorious in the DFB-Pokal, both Stuttgart and Mainz are winless in the Bundesliga after losing their opening matches against Hertha Berlin and Hannover 96 respectively.

Swabians looking to use the Mercedes-Benz to their advantage

Stuttgart didn't get off to the perfect start they dreamed of last week after losing their opening Bundesliga match 2-0 away to Hertha Berlin. Matt Leckie's second-half brace ensured the points remained in the capital while Hannes Wolf's men returned home with nothing to show for their efforts.

Travelling to a side that will compete in the Europa League this season after finishing last season in sixth was always going to be a tough test for a newly promoted side, even one with Stuttgart's pedigree.

A home fixture at the Mercedes-Benz Arena affords Wolf the chance to make his side hard to beat in front of the home fans, with home form likely to prove crucial to their chances of survival come the end of the season.

It's important that talisman Simon Terodde gets a Bundesliga goal sooner rather than later in order to keep his confidence from last season, as without his goal threat Stuttgart could find themselves free-falling back down to the 2.Bundesliga.

The Swabians were on the losing side the last time this fixture was played out, with Mainz running out 3-1 winners at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in 2016 thanks to goals from Yunus Malli, Jhon Córdoba and Karim Onisiwo.

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Mainz native Sandro Schwarz out to rectify poor start

New Mainz boss Sandro Schwarz got off to a less than impressive start to his league career with Die Nullfünfer last weekend, losing 1-0 at home to newly promoted Hannover 96.

Former Stuttgart winger Martin Harnik's 73rd minute goal condemned Schwarz to the first Bundesliga defeat of his management career after he was promoted to the head coach role following Martin Schmidt's sacking at the end of last season.

The visitors have a relatively new-look attack following the departure of Córdoba and the return of loanee Bojan to Stoke City, with former Stuttgart man Alexandru Maxim starting in the number 10 role last week while Yoshinori Mutō started up top and was flanked by new signing Viktor Fischer out wide.

Scoring goals was a real problem for Mainz last season as Malli earned their top scorer award with six goals, despite leaving for VfL Wolfsburg in January.

Mutō must improve on the five goals he scored last season if he is to fire Die Nullfünfer to safety or even beyond that, because if they continue to struggle in front of goal then they may not escape the drop as they did last time around.

Team news

Emiliano Insúa and Carlos Mané are injured and will not be involved in Stuttgart's squad on Saturday, while striker Daniel Ginczek is an injury doubt and so Terodde looks set to start as he did against Hertha Berlin.

Mainz are without Alexander Hack, Jean-Philippe Gbamin, Jannik Huth, Marin Sverko and Gaëtan Bussman ahead of Saturday's game meaning that there is not much room for rotation in Schwarz's squad.

Wantaway attacking midfielder Jairo Samperio has been given until the transfer deadline to find a new club with Schwarz saying that if the club "do not receive an adequate offer, he will stay with us."

Predicted line-ups

VfB Stuttgart (4-2-3-1): Zieler; Aílton, Pavard, Badstuber, Zimmerman; Gentner, Mangala; Akolo, Brekalo, Asano; Terodde.

1. FSV Mainz 05 (4-2-3-1): Adler; Donati, Bell, Diallo, Brosinski; Frei, Latza; De Blasis, Maxim, Fischer; Mutō.

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