The second matchday of the 2016/17 Bundesliga season has arrived for Mainz and Hoffenheim, who are both searching for their first wins of the campaign so far after failing to secure victory in their respective opening day fixtures.
Mainz were on the end of a 2-1 defeat to Borussia Dortmund last time out, whereas Hoffenheim were held to a 2-2 draw at home by newly promoted RB Leipzig thanks to the latter finding a last gasp equaliser from Marcel Sabitzer in the 90th minute.
The two meetings between these sides last season were entertaining affairs for the neutral, with Mainz winning the first tie 3-1 at the Opel Arena thanks to a hat-trick from Yunus Malli. The reverse fixture at Rhein-Neckar-Arena ended 3-2 in favour of Hoffenheim and carried on the goal fest from the first encounter, and this time it was the turn of Mark Uth to play the hero as his brace secured three points for the home side.
Mainz will likely head into the game as slight favourites, and will hope to get their first win of the season on the board before they open their Europa League campaign against Saint-Etienne on Thursday evening.
Matchday one was less than ideal for the two sides
Neither side was able to being their Bundesliga season with a win in the first matchday, although Hoffenheim fans will be the more disappointed set of supporters after seeing three point taken from under their noses thanks to that last gasp Sabitzer equaliser for RB Leipzig.
Die Kraichgauer were lacklustre in their defending during the game, and that is something that must improve if they wish to improve upon last season's disappointing 15th placed finish.
Mainz succumbed to a predictable away defeat to Dortmund, with two goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang proving to be enough for the home side on the day, although Yoshinori Muto did come off the bench to net a consolation goal in the 92nd minute of the match.
Whether there will be any rotation of the Mainz squad between the Europa League and Bundesliga remains to be seen, although with the injuries that Die Nullfunfer are currently saddled with they may have no choice but to field a largely similar team until those players recover.
The home side have a rather lengthy injury list on their hands, with Emil Berggreen, Jairo Sampeiro, Gianluca Curci, Danny Latza, Niki Zimling and new signing Andre Ramalho all unavailable for the match due to injury. The visitors however have a clean bill of health, meaning that Julian Nagelsmann will have a full squad to choose from on Sunday afternoon.
Nagelsmann did reveal that he is likely to make "one or two changes" for the game, although he remained tight lipped on what these changes would be. The Hoffenheim boss also said that his side must put in "better defensive work" than they did during the 2-2 draw with Leipzig on Matchday 1, adding that his side have "worked intensively over the last two weeks" in regards to their defending.
Mainz manager Martin Schmidt does not have his strongest team available to him due to the aforementioned injuries to various key players, but he remained optimistic about Sunday's match. Schmidt said that he is "one hundred percent convinced" that his players can "skip all hurdles provided by the opposition", and with the first game of Mainz's long awaited Europa League campaign lying in wait on Thursday the manager will have to balance his squad between two competitions.
Mainz (4-2-3-1): Lossl; Donati, Bell, Balogun, Brosinski; Serdar, Gbamin; De Blasis, Malli, Clemens; Muto
Hoffenheim (4-3-3): Baumann; Toljan, Schar, Sule, Ochs; Rupp, Schwegler, Rudy; Uth, Wagner, Kramaric