Mainz's Bundesliga season continues to be an enigma for those looking from the outside. After an up and down season where matches away from the Opel Arena seem to render more points than those on home turf, Achim Beirerlorzer's side face a clash against David Wagner's Schalke this weekend - another side yet to set the world alight in 2020.
Die Königsblauen have won just once since the winter break - the opening Rückrunde fixture against Borussia Monchengladbach - and were held at home by struggling Paderborn last weekend. That came after a goalless draw at Hertha and a 5-0 drubbing by Bayern Munich.
For Mainz too it's been a difficult start to the year, but last weekend's victory in Berlin saw the Rhineland side accrue their first points of the decade thanks to prolific Swedish striker Robin Quaison's hat trick.
Mainz have no fresh injury worries affecting them, but they do have two players just one yellow card away from a suspension. Danny Latza and Ridle Baku will both have to be on their best behaviour to avoid a one match ban.
Schalke still have a number of names on the treatment table, with Daniel Caligiuri the latest name to be ruled out until at least March. Benjamin Stambouli, Salif Sane and Marcus Schubert are all yet to return to training while Jonjoe Kenny and Suat Serdar are both still doubts.
What They Said
Mainz coach Beierlorzer: "It would now be good for us to put in a good performance at home. That’s the wish. We defended and attacked well in Berlin. We played good football with the ball and on the break. We played some impressive stuff.
"The step that we want to take now is simply to be constantly compact and ready, to put in more hard yards than our opponents and play with a higher tempo. That is the basis for bringing our quality to the pitch. We’ve found a good structure within the team and want to convert that to a good performance on Sunday.”
Schalke defender Matija Nastasic: "We need to concentrate on the next game in Mainz as that will be just as difficult. We’re preparing ourselves for a tough battle, and we need to ensure that we play to our strengths.
"You’re motivated before every game, but even more so when you have last season’s defeat in the back of your mind. We need to stay focused and perform as well as we can. We’ve struggled there a lot over the years, not just last season. We know what we’re up against and we’ll be ready for it."
One To Watch
All eyes will be on Robin Quaison after his treble last week, and another similar performance will be needed if Mainz are to pick up their first home win since December 2. He now has eleven goals this season and his hat trick means he now beaten his previous best goal tally for a season.