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).

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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.

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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.

Guido Burgstaller has scored four of Schalke's eleven Bundesliga goals since joining in January. © gettyimages / Maja Hitij

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Match Stats

  • Mainz have won their last two home matches against Schalke. Before that they went six Bundesliga matches without a home win against the Royal Blues.
  • Schalke have won all 11 matches they have played against Mainz in the first half of the season. But they have won only one of 10 played in the Rückrunde (a 3-0 win in Mainz in April 2007).
  • The home side are 10 points worse off than at the same stage last season. The visitors have eight fewer points than in the previous campaign.
  • The Royal Blues scored from a corner for the first time this season on Matchday 24 – at the 102nd attempt. Mainz scored their league-leading eighth goal from a corner last weekend.
  • Christian Heidel was sporting director at Mainz for 24 years before leaving for a similar position with Schalke last summer.
  • 05ers midfielder Danny Latza is from Gelsenkirchen and was on the books of his local club from 1998 until 2011. He made his first three Bundesliga appearances with Schalke in the 2008/2009 season. 

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