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Preview: Bayer Leverkusen vs. Mainz 05 - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Bundesliga game between Bayer Leverkusen and Mainz 05, including team news and predicted lineups.

Bayer Leverkusen head into Saturday's Bundesliga encounter with Mainz 05 knowing that only victory will give the club a chance of qualifying for next season's Champions League.

From Mainz's perspective, they will look to enjoy the final game of the season having successfully avoided relegation with back-to-back wins.

Match preview

Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Kai Havertz pictured in February 2020© Reuters

While the race for the Champions League has been nip and tuck in recent weeks, Leverkusen will be bitterly disappointed to head into their final game with their fate not in their own hands.

Collecting just four points from a possible 12 has handed the initiative to Borussia Monchengladbach, who will finish in the top four should they defeat Hertha Berlin.

With Monchengladbach also holding a significantly better goal difference, Leverkusen will be aware that only defeat for their closest rivals will allow them to claim a place at European football's top table.

Although they still have the backup of the Europa League, Peter Bosz is aware that players, including Kai Havertz, may need to be sold if they miss out on the financial benefits of playing in the Champions League.

Should that be the case, the playmaker will want to go out on a high having produced one of his most ineffective performances of the season against Hertha last Saturday.

One factor in Leverkusen's favour is Mainz's recent revival, one which has guaranteed their top-flight status for another 12 months.

Mainz failed to win any of their first four games after the resumption, resulting in the club moving closer to the bottom three at a time when Werder Bremen were finding some form.

However, excellent away triumphs at Eintracht Frankfurt and Borussia Dortmund respectively put the club on the brink of survival, before the job was completed with a 3-1 success against Bremen last weekend.

Although Achim Beierlorzer will naturally want to finish as high in the standings as possible, it would come as no great surprise if the level of his players dropped with much less at stake.

If Mainz were able to end the season with four wins from five games, they may still be able to finish in 11th place.

Bayer Leverkusen Bundesliga form: LWLDWL

Mainz 05 Bundesliga form: DLWLWW

Team News

Bayer Leverkusen manager Peter Bosz pictured in February 2019© Reuters

While Bosz could be tempted to make a number of changes to his starting lineup, he will likely rely on experience over youth.

Taking that approach would see Paulinho remain among the replacements, potentially allowing Leon Bailey to continue on the flanks.

Kerem Demirbay could be preferred to Charles Aranguiz in the centre of midfield.

Mainz boss Beierlorzer has insisted that he will select his best possible side for the game at the BayArena.

However, Jean-Paul Boetius, who starred in their most recent outing, is absent through suspension, which may lead to a recall for Levin Oztunali.

Bayer Leverkusen starting lineup:
Hradecky; Dragovic, Tah, Tapsoba, Wendell; Baumgartlinger, Dmeribay; Diaby, Havertz, Bailey; Volland

Mainz 05 possible starting lineup:
Muller; Baku, Juste, Niakhate, Brosinski; Latza, Kunde; Onisiwo, Oztunali, Quaison; Mateta

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We say: Bayer Leverkusen 3-1 Mainz 05

Given their respective paths in recent weeks, we can only back Leverkusen to prevail in this contest. Mainz have been playing high-stakes fixtures for weeks, and having finally achieved their goal may ultimately lead to a lower level of performance this weekend.


Who will win Saturday's Bundesliga clash between Bayer Leverkusen and Mainz 05?

Bayer Leverkusen
Mainz 05
Bayer Leverkusen
Mainz 05
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