Mainz could secure their Bundesliga status for another season if Jean-Philippe Mateta and Co. can do the business against Fortuna Düsseldorf on Saturday (kick-off: 3.30pm CEST/2.30pm BST/9.30am ET).
Despite their best efforts away to title contenders Borussia Dortmund, Mainz suffered their eighth defeat in 10 matches on Matchday 29. The performance was another step in the right direction following the 05ers' 5-0 drubbing of Freiburg a week earlier, though, and Sandro Schwarz knows his side will be safe for another year if they better 16th-placed VfB Stuttgart's result against Augsburg. The Mainz coach could be tempted to recall Robin Quaison after the Swede stepped off the bench against Dortmund to score his second goal in three games. Karim Onisiwo would be the likeliest candidate to make way in attack, alongside 10-goal top scorer Mateta.
Four points better off than Mainz in 10th place, Fortuna can already begin their preparations for 2019/20. In spite of their 4-1 loss to defending champions Bayern Munich, Düsseldorf secured a second successive season of Bundesliga football for the first time since 1996, thanks to results elsewhere. That's not to say last term's Bundesliga 2 champions will be on holiday for their remaining five matches of the campaign, with a top-half finish not beyond the realms of possibility. Friedhelm Funkel's more conservative approach against Bayern cost Watford loanee Dodi Lukebakio his place in side, though the Belgian winger came off the bench to score his ninth Bundesliga goal of the season and should start at the Merkur-Spiel Arena.
Watch: Jean-Philippe Mateta scored his first Bundesliga hat-trick on Matchday 28
- Mainz are unbeaten in their last three meetings with Fortuna (W2, D1). Düsseldorf are, in fact, the only current Bundesliga club, against whom the 05ers are yet to lose at this level.
- Mateta has scored five of his 10 debut-season Bundesliga goals at home.
- Quaison is Mainz's next best goalscorer on seven.
- Fortuna's Lukebakio and Benito Raman are on 10 and nine Bundesliga goals for the season respectively.
- Düsseldorf have won four of their 14 away games this season. Five would equal a club record (1972/73, 1973/74 and 1974/75).
- Fortuna, like Mainz, have conceded 13 Bundesliga goals from crosses this season.
Mainz: Müller – Donati, Bungert (c), Niakhate, Martin – Gbamin, Kunde, Latza – Boetius – Quaison, Mateta
Out: Adler (knee), Holtmann (thigh), Mwene (knee)
Coach: Sandro Schwarz
Düsseldorf: Rensing – Zimmermann, Ayhan, Kaminski, Suttner – Bodzek (c) – Lukebakio, Stöger, Fink, Raman – Kownacki
Out: Sobottka (groin), Zimmer (ankle)
Doubtful: Contento (cruciate ligament), Drobny (hand), Gießelmann (calf), Lovren (match fitness)
Coach: Friedhelm Funkel