Adam Szalai has scored eleven Bundesliga goals for Mainz 05 this season, the third of which came in the reverse fixture on Matchday 4 (2-0)
Adam Szalai has scored eleven Bundesliga goals for Mainz 05 this season, the third of which came in the reverse fixture on Matchday 4 (2-0)

Szalai back to rain on Augsburg's parade

Augsburg - 1. FSV Mainz 05 head coach Thomas Tuchel can once again call on top scorer for Sunday afternoon's clash against improving FC Augsburg (kick-off 15:30 CET).


The Hungarian missed the Matchday 20 defeat to Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich through suspension, but is set to go straight back in at the deep end as the 05ers chase a second win of 2013.

Eleven goals in 19 Bundesliga appearances in 2012/13 represent a fine return for a striker who had previously scored just nine times in 50 league outings. Indeed, only FC Bayern Munich's Mario Mandzukic (14), Borussia Dortmund's Robert Lewandowski (13), Bayer 04 Leverkusen's Stefan Kießling (13) and Eintracht Frankfurt's Alex Meier (12) have posted greater numbers this term.

Yet this is a Mainz side with more than one string to bow. Midfielder for one has made great strides this term and has the goals (four), assists (three) and pass completion rate (73.2%) to show it. Suspended this weekend, however, Müller's presence will be sorely missed at the SGL Arena.

Augsburg "unified"

"There are easier assignments," said Tuchel of Sunday's hosts, who go into the game unbeaten in four Bundesliga matches this calendar year. "They're very unified, they trust their coach and now they have hope that they can really make use of the second half of the season," he added.

The Bavarian club certainly appear to be doing just that, having accrued five points from a possible nine since the Bundesliga restart on January 18. Indeed, the 17th-placed outfit are one of only two teams along with league leaders Bayern Munich to remain unbeaten this year.

Cultural cocktail

While other flailing sides may have opted for a change in management, Augsburg kept faith in head coach Markus Weinzierl and instead invested much of their time over the winter break recruiting proven reinforcements, with three of them bringing English Premier League experience to the table in the form of South Korean striker , veteran goalkeeper , and Cameroon forward Somen Tchoyi.

Adding to the international flavour at the club is American defender Michael Parkhurst and, although the 28-year-old is still awaiting his debut, it's this blend of new and old that has kick-started the Bavarians' push for Bundesliga survival. Weinzierl won't want his troops to get carried away, but as last season showed, if anyone can turn a season on its head down the back straight, it's Augsburg.

Possible line-ups:

Augsburg: Manninger - Philp, Callsen-Bracker, Klavan, Ostrzolek - Baier - Koo, Moravek, Ji, Werner - Mölders

Mainz: Wetklo - Pospech, Svensson, Noveski, Junior Diaz - Zimling - Baumgartlinger, Soto - Ivanschitz - Szalai, S. Parker

Christopher Mayer-Lodge