Frankfurt need to win to close the gap on 16th place, while Mainz still harbour hopes of a place in Europe. - © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA
Frankfurt need to win to close the gap on 16th place, while Mainz still harbour hopes of a place in Europe. - © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA
Bundesliga

Strugglers Frankfurt host Mainz in Rhine-Main derby

Rhine-Main bragging rights could hold added significance for Eintracht Frankfurt and 1. FSV Mainz 05 on Sunday (kick-off: 17:30CEST/15:30GMT).

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Second-bottom Frankfurt were cast six points adrift of outright safety following their 3-0 defeat to Bayer 04 Leverkusen coupled with relegation play-off spot incumbents SV Werder Bremen's rousing 3-2 victory over VfL Wolfsburg last weekend, and can scarcely afford any further slip-ups as they bid to avoid dropping down a tier for the fifth time in their history.

Mainz's prognosis is much more favourable, despite surrendering a two-goal lead in their 3-2 defeat to 1. FC Köln on Matchday 30. The sixth-placed 05ers currently occupy the final UEFA Europa League qualifying berth, but do so as one of three sides locked on 45 points, only four behind fourth-in-the-table Hertha Berlin.

- © imago / Eßling

Matchday 14 rewind:Mainz 2-1 Frankfurt

- © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA

Matchday 31 - match stats

    Eintracht Frankfurt come into Matchday 31 in 17th, six points behind VfB Stuttgart and the safety of 15th place. Niko Kovac has lost 80 percent of his games since succeeding Armin Veh as Frankfurt coach in March. This is the poorest record of any Eintracht coach. The Eagles' 3-0 loss at Bayer 04 Leverkusen last Saturday was their third consecutive defeat. The Hessians have won only one of their previous 12 Bundesliga games - a 1-0 triumph over bottom club Hannover 96 on Matchday 27.Mainz have only won one of their last five away games, though that was an impressive 2-1 victory at champions FC Bayern München on Matchday 24.Frankfurt have won just one of their last eight games against Mainz - a 2-0 victory in April 2014. However, Mainz have won only one of their last 11 matches at Frankfurt's Commerzbank Arena, prevailing 3-1 in November 2012. Frankfurt's Meier is the only player to have played in all 15 Bundesliga encounters between Eintracht and Mainz. He has scored five goals against the 05ers.The reverse fixture, which Mainz won 2-1 on Matchday 14, saw Meier sent off in the 40th minute for a second bookable offence. It was the 33-year-old's first and hitherto only red card in the Bundesliga.Frankfurt have the worst record in the away table, with only nine points picked up on the road this season.

Possible line-ups

Frankfurt: Hradecky - Chandler, Abraham, Russ, Djakpa - Hasebe, Kittel - Huszti - Aigner, Ben-Hatira - Castaignos

Absentees: Anderson, Flum (rehabilitation), Zambrano (thigh), Medojevic (Achilles), Meier (knee), Reinartz (thigh)

Coach: Niko Kovac

Mainz: Karius - Brosinski, Balagun, Bell, Bussmann - Baumgartlinger, Latza - Clemens, Malli, Jairo - Cordoba

Absentees: Curci (calf), Soto (light training), Serder (muscular), Muto (knee), Berggreen (rehabilitation)

Coach: Martin Schmidt

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