1. FSV Mainz 05 could cement their grip on a UEFA Europa League qualification place with victory over Hamburger SV at the Coface Arena on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 15:30CEST/13:30GMT).
Although Mainz are in sixth with a five-point cushion on 1. FC Köln in eighth, last Sunday's 2-1 loss at Rhine-Main derby rivals Eintracht Frankfurt means that Martin Schmidt's side have only won once in their last seven games. Colombian midfielder Elkin Soto could return to face Hamburg, almost exactly a year on from suffering a serious broken leg against the same opponents.
Hamburg make the 500-kilometre journey to Mainz with only eight points separating the sides in the table following HSV's 2-1 win over SV Werder Bremen last Friday. That win - their third in five games - has taken the Red Shorts one step closer to a record 54th Bundesliga season next term.
Matchday 15 rewind: Hamburg 1-3 Mainz
Matchday 32 - match stats
- Mainz have won only one of their last seven games. Last weekend's 2-1 reverse at Eintracht Frankfurt saw them lose a second consecutive game for the first time in the Rückrunde.Mainz have never suffered three consecutive defeats under Schmidt. The last time the 05ers lost three in a row was in September 2013, under now-Borussia Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel.Hamburg's 2-1 Nordderby victory over SV Werder Bremen last time out was their tenth win this season. With 37 points on the board, HSV have two more than they managed in the whole of last season.Nicolai Müller is Hamburg's most dangerous player this season with eight goals and five assists. One more goal would see the 28-year-old match his best ever season return of nine goals, which he managed with Mainz in the 2013/14 campaign.A win for Hamburg would see Labbadia balance his record as coach of the Red Shorts. His overall record in two spells at the club reads: 25 wins, 20 draws and 24 losses.
Mainz: Karius - Brosinski, Bell, Hack, Bussmann - Latza, S. Serdar - De Blasis, Malli, Jairo - Cordoba
Absentees: Curci (calf), Muto (knee), Berggreen (rehabilitation), Bussmann (knee), Latza (aductor), Baumgartlinger (suspended),
Coach: Martin Schmidt
Hamburg: Adler - G. Sakai, Djourou, Spahic, Ostrzolek - Jung, Holtby - Ilicevic, Hunt, Bahoui - Schipplock
Absentees: Gregoritsch, Lasogga (both suspended), Drmic (knee), Ekdal (thigh), Götz, Olic (both light training)
Coach: Bruno Labbadia