Mainz 05 v Fortuna Düsseldorf: The Proverbial Six Pointer
Defeat for Düsseldorf would mean Mainz open up a six point gap from the bottom three. Image: Alex Grimm via Getty Images

While a lot of the talk in this Bundesliga campaign is of the battle at the top between Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig - and maybe even Borussia Dortmund - it is at the bottom where things really get interesting. 

This weekend's clash between Mainz and Fortuna Düsseldorf at the Opel Arena is nothing short of a six pointer, with a win for the hosts opening up a six point gap between them and their opponents, who sit in the relegation play-off places. While results are still far from predictable for the home side, Mainz have still managed to gain some sort of steadiness since the Rückrunde began and picked up their first home win since the beginning of December against Paderborn last weekend.

Fortuna on the other hand are still reeling after a stunning defeat to Regionalliga Südwest side FC Saarbrücken in the DFB Pokal quarter-final last weekend. They've picked up just one league win in seven matches - a 2-0 win a Freiburg in February - but have drawn three of those.

Form Guide (Bundesliga)

Mainz: LWDLW

Fortuna: DDLWD

What They Said

“We want to keep playing football to a high level,” said Mainz boss Achim Beierlorzer ahead of the crucial bottom of the table clash.

“For us it is more important to see how we can counter their strategy and how we can play our own game. We played well in that last game. Now we must move on. As I said before the game against Paderborn, we should not be dropping a single point in terms of work rate or engagement.”

Achim Beierlorzer
Beierlorzer says Mainz have to build on last week's win. Image: Lars Baron via Getty Images

Fortuna chief Uwe Rösler says his side have had fire in their bellies ever since that banana skin slip up against Saarbrücken. “The boys know exactly what it's about. We had a very fiery session on Thursday morning. In fact, one or two boys suffered minor injuries.

"I firmly assume that it is not serious. Compared to the Saarbrücken game, there will very likely be no new injuries.

"We have to transport the fire from training into the game. However, we also need control. It would not be a wise idea to engage in an open exchange of blows. If Mainz get them, they are very dangerous."

Team News

Aside from long-term absentee Stefan Bell, Beierlorzer has a full compliment of players to choose from on Sunday evening. 

David Kownecki is unavailable for Fortuna, while goalkeeper Maduka Okoye is suspended. 

One To Watch

Fortuna's Turkish striker Kenan Karaman was on target twice for the Niederrhein side in their 3-3 draw with Hertha Berlin in their last Bundesliga outing. Those were his first two goals for the side since August, and if this is a man now in form then Mainz should watch out for a man on a mission to pull Fortuna out of the relegation scrap. 

Where To Watch

Mainz 05 v Fortuna Düsseldorf is available to watch live in the UK on BT Sport 3 from 5pm.

In Germany, the match will be live on Sky Sport Bundesliga (6pm kick off). 

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