Pros 26.08.2022 — 17:05 Uhr

Two very different starts to the season

Information on the game against Leverkusen

Karim Onisiwo holds off Tapsoba
Karim Onisiwo, here holding off Leverkusen's Tapsoba, is currently joint top-scorer in the Bundesliga.

Unbeaten Mainz go into the fourth game of the 2022/23 Bundesliga season in fourth place. Saturday (15.30 CEST) is the family matchday, and Mainz take on Bayer 04 Leverkusen at the MEWA ARENA, hoping to maintain the momentum that they have from their win away at Augsburg last week. “We play at home, want to put in a lot of effort and keep up with the best teams. We know how hard it will be, so we need to use the crowd and our fans. I hope that there will be a good attendance and that everything goes our way;” explained Bo Svensson to the media before the Leverkusen game. 

Head coach Svensson before the home game against Bayer 04 Leverkusen

A look at the opponents

Bayer 04 Leverkusen were promoted to the Bundesliga in 1979 and have since established themselves in the top flight. In 1988 they won the UEFA Cup, the biggest win in their history. The team regularly finished second in the league during the late nineties and early noughties and lost a number of national and international finals, leading to the moniker “Neverusen” (Vizekusen in German). In the last couple of decades, Leverkusen have regularly qualified for European football and appeared in the DFB-Pokal final for the first time since 2009 in 2020, eventually losing 4-2 to Bayern.

Head-to-head

1. FSV Mainz 05 and Bayer Leverkusen have played each other 32 times in the Bundesliga, with Leverkusen winning 16 times compared to 11 for Mainz with five draws. Mainz fans will remember the second game of the season last year fondly, with subs Jean-Paul Boëtius and Marcus Ingvartsen scoring in a comeback win. This was the only game that FSV won last year from a losing position.

Use your head

Mainz have been dominant in the air so far this season. In the league up till now, FSV have scored three headed goals, more than any other team. Karim Onisiwo scored a brace of headers against Bochum, while Jae-Sung Lee nodded in from an Aarón cross in Augsburg.

Differing starts

Mainz have not started with seven points from three games as in this season since since four years ago. There have only been better starts to the season in 2010/11 and 2013/14 under Thomas Tuchel, when Mainz collected nine points from three games. Leverkusen are still waiting to get any points on the board, their joint worst start to the season alongside 2018/19.

Mainz's strength at home

FSV have only lost one of their last 14 Bundesliga home games in a run extending back to last campaign. The loss was a narrow 1-0 defeat to Borussia Dortmund. The team kept nine home clean sheets last season, while also recording a clean sheet on the second matchday this season against Union Berlin.

Scoring away from home

With two goals this season Karim Onisiwo is currently level with Sadio Mané and Jamal Musiala at the top of the list of scorers and has recently become the player with the most Bundesliga goal contributions (goals and assists) in Mainz’s history. Curiously, the Austrian scores much more often away from home. All in all, his last seven and eleven of his last twelve Bundesliga goals have come away from home. Onisiwo last scored at the MEWA ARENA in October 2021 against Augsburg.

Going behind

Mainz have not been behind so far this season, while Leverkusen have gone 1-0 down in the first quarter of every Bundesliga game so far this season.

Leaving it late

Mainz have scored two late winners, Onisiwo scored to make it 2-1 in the 77th minute in Bochum, while Jae-sung Lee struck against Augsburg in the third minute of additional time.

Referee

The refereeing team can be found on the DFB website.