VfL Wolfsburg will look to cap a memorable week with victory over fellow European contenders 1. FSV Mainz 05 on Saturday (kick-off 18:30CEST/16:30GMT).
Despite some indifferent form in the Bundesliga that has seen them slip down to eighth in the standings, Wolfsburg go into the game riding the crest of a wave following a stirring 2-0 win over Real Madrid CF in their UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg. A top-four finish is not yet out of the question, but the Wolves will almost certainly have to get a positive result against Mainz if they are to stand any chance of qualifying for European football's elite club competition via their league position.
Mainz are one of a handful of sides in the running to pip Wolfsburg to the post with only six rounds of fixtures remaining. The 05ers are perhaps the most surprising entrant in the European rat race, but have form on their side, having already beaten all but two of the current top seven, including Bundesliga leaders FC Bayern München, since the turn of the year.
Matchday 12 rewind: Mainz 2-0 Wolfsburg
Matchday 29 - match stats
- So far this season, Wolfsburg have not won a single one of their five Bundesliga fixtures immediately after a Champions League game (D3, L2).Mainz are ahead of Wolfsburg in the standings for the first time since 2010/11.Wolfsburg have collected just one point from their last three games.Mainz's current tally of 44 points would have been enough to finish eighth last season.The 05ers have already amassed more points than in six of their nine previous Bundesliga campaigns.Wolfsburg picked up 19 points in their first seven home games of the season, but have collected just nine in their last seven at the Volkswagen Arena.Mainz have already gained more points away from home (18) than in the entirety of last season.Wolfsburg's Andre Schürrle scored 20 goals in 66 Bundesliga appearances for Mainz between 2006-2011. He did not score in any of his seven outings against the Wolves.Only FC Bayern and Wolfsburg have conceded fewer goals from set pieces (both one) than Mainz (five) this season.Only TSG 1899 Hoffenheim have scored more goals in the opening 15 minutes of matches than Wolfsburg and Mainz in 2015/16.
Wolfsburg: Benaglio - Träsch, Knoche, Dante, Rodriguez - Guilavogui, Luiz Gustavo - Vieirinha, Arnold, Schürrle - Kruse
Absentees: Draxler (suspended), Jung (knee), Caligiuri (adductor)
Coach: Dieter Hecking
Mainz: Karius - Brosinski, Bell, Hack, Bussmann - Frei, Latza - Jairo, Malli, De Blasis - Cordoba
Absentees: Berggreen (knee), Soto (knee), Muto (knee), Klement (light training)
Coach: Martin Schmidt