Andre Breitenreiter's men secured an historic promotion to Germany's top flight last season after finishing second in Bundesliga 2, while the 05ers bade a fond farewell to Thomas Tuchel on the back of an impressive seventh-place finish.
As a newly promoted side competing in the Bundesliga for the first time, survival will be top of Paderborn's agenda in 2014/15. Mainz, on the other hand, have spent the last five season's in the top tier of Germany football, but this will be their first without Tuchel at the helm. Suffice to say new head coach Kasper Hjulmand has a lot to live up to.
Mario Vrancic (pictured), who spent nine years man and boy on the books at Mainz, will hope to deliver a doubly big performance, especially with fellow goalscoring midfielder Alban Meha ruled out through injury. Defender Tim Welker also misses out, while Marvin Ducksch und Elias Kachunga are both major doubts.
There'll be no place for injured trio Petar Sliskovic (knee), Todor Nedelev (thigh) and Sebastian Polter (flu) in Hjulmand's starting XI. FIFA World Cup participants Gonzalo Jara (pictured) and Junior Diaz may have to settle for a place on the bench following their exertions in Brazil, but new signing Filip Djuricic is expected to start.
Defender Uwe Hünemeier, who made his Bundesliga debut against none other FC Bayern München in December 2005 whilst on the books at Borussia Dortmund, takes his competitive bow as club captain on Sunday. "He played a massive part in our success last season," says Breitenreiter of the 28-year-old. "He always leads by example and has bags of experience."
Shinji Okazaki's 15 goals in 2013/14 set a new single-season Bundesliga record for a Japanese player. The 28-year-old proved integral to the 05ers' top-seven finish last term and has essentially picked up where he left off prior to the World Cup, notching in the UEFA Europa League third round qualifying first-leg win over Asteras Tripolis and again in the DFB Cup first round, albeit in a losing effort to third tier club Chemnitzer FC.
Andre Breitenreiter: "The excitement is huge. Being such big underdogs we're always going to need the support of our fans. I'm expecting a tough, compact opponent.
Kasper Hjulmand: "I think they’ll be really tough opponents. We know that newly promoted teams want to put in a good performance in their first match. We need a result."
Paderborn have blown hot and cold all summer, losing to, amongst others, ex-Bundesliga 2 adversaries Arminia Bielefeld and Spaniards Athletic Bilbao, whilst scoring a notable win over Premier League representatives Everton FC. Breitenreiter's troops were, however, joined on the DFB Cup first-round scrapheap last weekend by a Mainz side still smarting after being knocked out of the Europa League over two legs.
Mainz racked up a cricket score (6-1) the last time these two sides met on Matchday 29 of the 2007/08 Bundesliga 2 campaign, with the reverse fixture in Paderborn having ended one apiece earlier in the season. Will it be a case of third time lucky for the Bundesliga newcomers on Sunday afternoon? Stay tuned to find out.