Wolfsburg - Two sides flailing at the wrong end of the table do battle on Sunday evening as VfL Wolfsburg welcome 1. FSV Mainz 05 to the VW Arena (kick-off 17:30 CET).
The VW expects
Wolfsburg are yet to win at home this season, while Mainz have so far accrued just one point from their three away games to date.
With just one win in five Bundesliga outings, Wolfsburg find themselves a good way off the Europa League-chasing pace down in 13th place. However, whilst acknowledging their recent shortcomings, coach Felix Magath is refusing to hit the panic button. "The league table means very little to me at such an early stage in the season", he said.
Tuesday night's defeat at FC Bayern Munich did little to suggest Wolfsburg have what it takes to challenge for a place in the top six, but Magath feels his charges will "have learned their lesson" after such a humbling. Strong home form is certainly the bare minimum required of any side, and a duck-breaking win at the VW Arena could go a long way to alleviating any early season concerns.
The Mainz story tells a similar tale, with the only difference being the fact that they're yet to win away from home, although the 05ers did pick up their first home victory of the season against FC Augsburg on Matchday 4. Any momentum appeared to have gone walkabout in midweek, as Schalke 04 handed Thomas Tuchel's side another defeat.
While their performance was respectable against a top-three team, an injury to star striker leaves the visitors worryingly light in attack as they look to move clear of the Bundesliga basement with a rare win away from the comforts of the Coface Arena.
Wolfsburg's Brazilian defender Naldo had to sit out training on Thursday, but is expected to be fit enough to resume defensive duties alongside Emmanuel Pogatetz on Sunday evening.
Choupo-Moting joins Mainz trio Heinz Müller, Tobias Schilk und Marcel Risse on the sidelines, but Tuchel insists his side "have enough variation" to handle the growing injury list, with Nikita Rukavytsya a candidate to start in Wolfsburg.
VfL Wolfsburg: Benaglio - Fagner, Pogatetz, Naldo, Rodriguez - Kahlenberg, Knoche - Vieirinha, Diego, Olic - Dost
1. FSV Mainz 05: Wetklo - Pospech, Bungert, Noveski, Junior Diaz - Baumgartlinger - Polanski, Soto - Ivanschitz - Szalai, Rukavytsya