Summary

  • Schalke lost their first five games, but stopped the rot against Gladbach and Augsburg.
  • Royal Blues striker Breel Embolo is out for six months after breaking his ankle.
  • Mainz moved up to seventh last weekend with victory over Darmstadt.

FC Schalke 04 are looking to put their difficult start to the season behind them as they go in search of another win at home to 1. FSV Mainz 05 on Sunday (kick-off 17:30CEST/15:30GMT).

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Having picked up four points in two games, Schalke will feel their season is well and truly up and running if they can get the better of Mainz at the VELTINS Arena this weekend. Markus Weinzierl will be relieved to have steadied the ship after a nightmare start to his tenure, but the Royal Blues coach will have to do without up-and-coming forward Breel Embolo for at least the next six months, after he broke his ankle in last week's draw with FC Augsburg.

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Weinzierl's opposite number, Martin Schmidt, will be quietly satisfied with how Mainz have kicked off their campaign. Last week's win over SV Darmstadt 98 pushed them up to seventh, only six points behind leaders FC Bayern München. With Yunus Malli and Pablo De Blasis both on song, having netted four goals apiece, the 05ers will feel they're more than capable of springing a surprise in Gelsenkirchen, where they have only won a single Bundesliga game in ten visits.

Mainz midfielder De Blasis has alread amanged as many goals in seven Bundesliga games this season as he did in 26 last term.

Match Facts

  • Schalke's sporting director Christian Heidel faces his former club for the first time since leaving Mainz after over 20 years of service, in which he established the club in the top flight and oversaw the construction of the OPEL ARENA.
  • Curiously, Schalke have won every match against Mainz before the winter break (10 times) but have only beaten them once after the new year (3-0 in April 2007).
  • The Royal Blues have won 11 of their 20 matches against Mainz. Darmstadt are the only other top-flight club against whom they have a winning ratio of over 50 per cent.
  • The Zero-Fivers have failed to score against Schalke on nine occasions, which is more than against any other club.
  • Mainz have won just one Bundesliga game in Gelsenkirchen (3-1 on 7th May 2011 with goals from Andre Schürrle, Lewis Holtby and Nikolce Noveski). FSV have lost more often at Schalke than at any other Bundesliga club (7 in both Munich and Dortmund).

Head here for all the pre-match team news

The venue - VELTINS Arena