1. FC Köln v Mainz 05 Preview: Can Die Nullfünfer pull away from the relegation pack?
(Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)

The Bundesliga is back! And while there'll be no Super Sunday in the English Premier League for some time yet, Köln and Mainz will open Sunday's Bundesliga matches before Union Berlin and Bayern Munich play later in the day. 

This fixture is between two sides known for their city's respective carnivals, but there'll be no party atmosphere in the RheinEnergieStadion with the league resuming with 'Geisterspiele' - or ghost games. 

This is not a new experience for the home side, with Effzeh playing Borussia Mönchengladbach behind closed doors before the league was eventually suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Current Form

Okay, so current form is probably not too relevant after a two month hiatus, but that doesn't mean we won't take a look at how these two opponents come into the game. 

The home side had won three of their previous five league matches before the league was halted, while they'd also only lost one of their last five home matches - 4-1 to Bayern Munich. They beat Schalke 3-0 in their last appearance on home turf. 

Mainz had improved after the winter break and had lost just one of their previous Rückrunde matches. Achim Beierlorzer's side have been somewhat erratic on the road this season, with results like 5-0 and 5-1 wins away at Werder Bremen and Hoffenheim respectively being contrasted by 6-0 and 8-0 defeats at Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig. 

Team News

FC Köln are definitely without Raphael Czikos and Niklas Hauptmann for the league's resumption, as confirmed by head coach Markus Gisdol. 

For Mainz, Stefan Bell and Robin Zentner are both out, while Jean-Philippe Mateta is suspended after his red card against Fortuna Düsseldorf before the league's abrupt suspension. 

Previous Meetings

In the last five matches between the two sides, Köln have been victorious just once, with Mainz winning twice. There have been two draws. In this season's fixture at the Opel Arena, Mainz won 3-1 thanks to goals from Robin Quaison, Leon Öztunali and Jean-Paul Boëtius

Last Five:

Mainz 3-1 Köln

Köln 1-1 Mainz

Mainz 1-0 Köln

Köln 2-0 Mainz

Mainz 0-0 Köln

How to watch and stream

The game is available to viewers in the United Kingdom from 14.15 BST on Sunday on BT Sport 1 and BT Sport 1 Ultimate, as well as being able to stream on the BT Sport app.

As well as this, VAVEL UK will have LIVE minute-by-minute updates of the game, with pre-match buildup throughout the day.

Predicted Line-Ups

FC Köln

Horn, Ehizibue, Bornauw, Leistner, Katterbach, Skhiri, Hector, Drexler, Uth, Kainz, Cordoba.

Mainz

Müller, St Juste, Bruma, Niakhate, Baku, Latza, Barreiro, Mwene, Quiason, Onisiwo, Szalai.

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