Werder Bremen could be relegated from the Bundesliga on Saturday if they are beaten by Mainz and Fortuna Düsseldorf beat Augsburg. The clash at the Opel Arena is make or break for both sides, with Mainz also not yet safe despite winning in midweek.
Mainz's chances of survival were boosted by their shock 2-0 away win at Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday, and they could have been effectively safe had Dusseldorf not battled from 2-0 down at RB Leipzig to snatch a late point. Victory in North Rhine-Westphalia came courtesy of goals from 19-year-old Jonathan Burkardt and a Jean-Philippe Mateta penalty - the 27th penalty Mainz have scored in a row.
Bremen lost 1-0 in the week to champions Bayern Munich thanks to Robert Lewandowksi's strike, but were far from outclassed as they battle to stay in the top division.
For Mainz, Edimilson Fernandes is back in the fold after being ineligible last time out through suspension. Boss Achim Beierlorzer will not be able to call on Liverpool loanee Taiwo Awoniyi though, who remains sidelined after a nasty neck injury sustained against Augsburg last weekend. Robin Zentner remains sidelined as well.
Bremen remain without Omer Toprak, Kevin Vogt and Kevin Mohwald, and there are doubts over the fitness of Nuri Sahin and Ludwig Augistinsson. Young American striker Joshua Sargent could be handed a start after impressing off the bench against the champions.
Predicted Line Ups
Mainz: Muller, Baku, St. Juste, Niakhate, Martin, Latza, Kunde, Burkardt, Quaison, Onisiwo, Mateta
Werder Bremen: Pavlenka, Veljkovic, Langkamp, Moisander, Gebre Selassie, Eggestein, Klaassen, Friedl, Bittencourt, Rashica, Sargent
Mainz have won two of their last three matches - both away from home - but are yet to score on home turf since the Bundesliga returned last month. Werder Bremen, meanwhile, have lost three of their last four matches, but have won their last three away games, conceding just one goal.
Werder Bremen: WLLWL
Ones to Watch
Cameroonian midfielder Pierre Kunde has excelled for Die Nullfünfer since the league's return, scoring twice. The first was a stunning solo effort against Köln which helped his side to a 2-2 draw away from home, while the second was an important one as it confirmed victory over rivals Eintracht Frankfurt.
The kind of player who, when at his best, is a nightmare for defences, Kunde has been a breath of fresh air to a side who have had a tough season in the Bundesliga. Initially more of a utility player in the early stages of the campaign, the hiatus has allowed Beierlorzer to give Kunde a different kind of role - one which has seen him at the heart of many Mainz attacking moves.
Having struggled to find the back of the net after the league restart, Davy Klaassen finally did so - twice - in Bremen's 5-1 thumping of relegated Paderborn last weekend. The former Everton midfielder has accumulated seven goals in total this season, and the Dutchman has already proven with that Paderborn performance that he is ready to turn up in big matches. This clash could be exactly the type of game where he will be hungry for goals.
If given support from the rest of the midfield like he was last weekend, we could see Klaassen's name on the scoresheet once again.
The last time these two faced each other was back in December, when Mainz picked up their biggest win of the season. Robin Quaison scored a hat trick as the boys in red ran away 5-0 winners from the Weserstadion. Mateta was also on the scoresheet, with an own goal from Bremen goalkeeper Jiri Pavlenka finishing up the rout. Werder Bremen last won in Mainz in May of 2018.
Werder Bremen 0-5 Mainz
Werder Bremen 3-1 Mainz
Mainz 2-1 Werder Bremen
Mainz 1-2 Werder Bremen
Werder Bremen 2-2 Mainz
Where to Watch
The match will be available on BT Sport alongside every other Bundesliga match this weekend. It will also be shown on BT Sport Extra 2 from 2.30pm (BST) on Saturday.
What They've Said
Mainz Director of Football Rouven Schröder on the task ahead:
Werder Bremen Chief Executive Frank Baumann: