Things are getting tight at the bottom of the Bundesliga and this game is crucial for both Union Berlin and Mainz who are edging ever closer to the drop.
Union Berlin, without a win in four, were thumped 4-0 at city rivals Hertha, while Mainz have won just three of their last 13 games and were trounced 5-0 at home to Leipzig last time out.
Union Berlin are favourites courtesy of home advantage but they have lost three of their last five games on their own patch and playing behind closed doors is a negative to a side very reliant on their passionate support. We’re predicting a much less daunting trip for Mainz than may have previously been the case.
Picking a winner isn’t easy with both sides finding points hard to come by and arriving on the back of heavy weekend defeats.
Union Berlin edged out Mainz 3-2 in November’s return fixture and with both defences short on confidence this could be another free-scoring encounter.
In a game neither can afford to lose, an early goal would open things up and that has been the case in Mainz’s last two fixtures against Cologne and Leipzig where they have found themselves trailing inside the opening ten minutes. In fact, only Paderborn have conceded more first-half goals than Mainz (29).
Mainz, who have endured score draws in two of their last three games, boast the worst defence in the league with 60 goals conceded in 27 games and are happy to rely on their free-flowing frontline, featuring Swede Robin Quaison, to get them out of trouble.
Mainz’s 13 away matches this season have featured 55 goals (an average of 4.2 per game), with each of their last five road trips seeing the net bulge at least four times.
Union Berlin have scored exactly twice in six of their last nine home games and are also more than capable of playing their part in a high-scoring contest.
Over 2.5 goals looks a solid selection and those looking for a correct score prediction should consider a 2-2 draw.
Mainz have drawn two of their last three games, with their last away trip to Cologne ending that scoreline. Union Berlin also shared the spoils in a four-goal thriller with Wolfsburg just two home outings ago.