There has never been more than a two-point gap between 1. FSV Mainz 05 and FC Schalke 04 since Matchday 12, but that could change after their meeting on Sunday (kick-off 15:30 CET/14:30 GMT).
Mainz start the day one point behind the visitors and only three off the relegation play-off place, so they will be hoping to break into the top half of the table by getting a sixth home win in 13 matches. Stefan Bell has weighed in with four goals for the 05ers this season, but the defender will sit this game out following his red card in the 2-1 derby defeat to Darmstadt on Matchday 24 – he was the sixth Mainz player to be given his marching orders this season.
Nabil Bentaleb struck twice in Schalke’s 3-0 win over Mainz in October, while Guido Burgstaller got a double in the victory by the same scoreline over Augsburg on Matchday 24. The Royal Blues will likely need both those players to shine if they are to pick up only their second away win of the season.