Players to WatchConsidering the uncertainty surrounding Dortmund's lineup, it's difficult to point out one specific player. If he plays, however, bet on Marco Reus getting on the scoresheet. With nine goals and nine wins against them, Mainz are his favourite opponent, as the league's official website (link in German) pointed out after the first meeting in October.
How much the Europa League tie with Spurs factors into head coach Thomas Tuchel's plans for the match against his former club—he managed the Zerofivers for five years—remains to be seen. Dortmund have an ever so slight chance at the Bundesliga title trailing Bayern by "only" five points, so they can't afford to slip up against Mainz, but the general focus probably lies on Europe. Sunday's visitors, on the other hand, are right in the thick of the fight for a spot in Europe next season, sitting in fifth place and just one point behind Schalke, who lost a six-pointer at Hertha BSC on Friday. Considering the fickle form of teams like the Royal Blues, Gladbach, Leverkusen and Wolfsburg, Mainz have a real shot at the UEFA Champions League qualification spot.
This seems to be the only way to stop Marco Reus against Mainz. Michael Probst/Associated PressIn that 2-0 win, Reus scored the opener and silenced his critics, ending a run of poor form. He did the same in midweek, scoring a brace against Spurs after a few rather disappointing performances. As for Mainz, all eyes will be on Yunus Malli. The playmaker was this close to moving to Dortmund in the winter—the clubs had already agreed a fee—until the Zerofivers pulled the plug on the transfer, per the club's official website.
Borussia Dortmund vs. Mainz: Team News, Predicted Lineups, Stream, TV InfoMichael Probst/Associated PressBorussia Dortmund host FSV Mainz on Matchday 26 of the 2015/16 Bundesliga season at Signal Iduna Park on Sunday. It's a meeting of two teams in outstanding form: Dortmund are still unbeaten since the turn of the year and proved their strength in a midweek drubbing of Tottenham Hotspur in the UEFA Europa League, while Mainz have beaten the likes of Borussia Monchengladbach, Schalke 04, Bayer Leverkusen and, most notably, Bayern Munich in their last seven league matches.
The Turkey international has a release clause in his contract, as he admitted to tabloid Bild (link in German) in January, so the transfer might well be postponed, not cancelled. Sunday's game could be considered another audition of sorts for the 24-year-old. Key BattlesCan Dortmund Keep Their Streak A? The Black and Yellows have an astounding record in front of their own fans, as Squawka tweeted after Thursday's 3-0 over Spurs:Squawka Football @SquawkaBorussia Dortmund's 2015/16 home form in all competitions WWWWWWDWWWWWLWWWWWDW Games: 20 Wins: 17 Goals: 64 #BVB https://t. co/jKlRSBuudyUnbeaten at home in domestic competitions all season, they'll be looking to keep their streak a against the in-form Zerofivers.
Mainz vs Borussia Monchengladbach betting tips: Bundesliga
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Ilkay Gundogan's availability is also questionable. The midfielder missed the game on Thursday after picking up a knock in team training. He's set to train with a specially fitted shoe on Saturday, but it'd seem unlikely Tuchel will take a risk and select him from the start. Shinji Kagawa is set to get a shot in the starting XI. Michael Probst/Associated PressTuchel rotated his squad quite heavily after Europa League fixtures this season, and the same is expected on Sunday. Matthias Ginter, Neven Subotic, Sokratis, Nuri Sahin and Shinji Kagawa are most likely to get a start, while Joo-ho Park, Moritz Leitner and Adrian Ramos will also have some hope of featuring against Mainz. Predicted Starting XI: Burki; Ginter, Subotic, Sokratis, Schmelzer; Sahin, Castro, Kagawa; Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang, Reus.
Martin Schmidt coached his team to a famous win at Bayern Munich. SASCHA SCHUERMANN/Getty ImagesIf the Swiss goes for the same approach, it would likely mean Mainz will begin without a true striker. Jhon Cordoba scored the winner against Bayern, however, and has generally been in fine form. With Dortmund presumably not playing their best XI, Mainz could go into the game with a more attacking mindset. Predicted Starting XI: Karius; Brosinski, Balogun, Bell, Bussmann; Baumgartlinger, Latza; Clemens, Malli, Samperio, Cordoba.
1. FSV Mainz 05 - Borussia M'gladbach - Eurosport
Head coach Martin Schmidt, however, has downplayed expectations in recent weeks, stating that his goal for the rest of the season is to replicate the 24 points they won in the first half of the campaign, via the club's official website. The Black and Yellows won the first matchup of the season 2-0 at Mainz and have never lost a home match against the Zerofivers, winning five of the nine meetings at the Westfalenstadion.
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