Both Mainz and Borussia Dortmund will be desperate for victory to kick-start their respective campaigns when they do battle at the Opel Arena in the Bundesliga on Sunday.
Mainz have had a poor season so far and sit 11th after 17 Bundesliga games played. They will be setting their sights higher up the table in the second half of the season and will want to improve on their 0-0 draw with Koln in their first game back after the break.
Head coach Martin Schmidt admitted his side were not at their best against Koln, and will have to raise their performance levels significantly if they are to take anything away from BVB.
“Dortmund have more quality in every area compared to Cologne, so our approach will have to be different,” he said.
Dortmund laboured to a 2-1 win over Werder Bremen in their first game after the winter break and will also want to improve on the first half of the season, that sees them currently sitting in fifth in the Bundesliga, which is way below expectations.
Rumours have begun circulating suggesting that manager Thomas Tuchel’s long-term future at the club may be under consideration, but the BVB mentor claims it is nothing but conjecture.
“That’s nothing new that it’s reported from the outside, and I don’t want to comment it every time. I’ve said we have a professional and friendly cooperation,” he told ESPN FC.
Mainz will be without Leon Balogun, who picked up a muscular injury last week, while Karim Onoisiwo and Emil Berggreen are both still absent.
Sven Bender and Nuri Sahin are out injured for Dortmund, but they will welcome back Aubameyang up front.