Mainz v Nurnberg – Opel Arena at 14:30 GMT

The Bundesliga returned from its winter slumber last weekend with struggling Nurnberg remaining entrenched in the relegation zone following a 3-1 home reverse to Hertha Berlin. The newly-promoted club are odds-on to head straight back down to the second-tier having W2-D5-L11 in their opening 19 games.

Der Club have now lost five on the trot and are winless in their last 12 Bundesliga matches (W0-D3-L9). The Bavarians have scored twice in their last six encounters, whilst their top goalscorer this season is midfielder Hanno Behrens, but two of his three goals this term have come via penalties.

Only Stuttgart (14) have scored fewer goals than Nurnberg (15) and head coach Michael Kollner is expected to make changes to his team here. Yuya Kubo is a candidate to come in to the midfield, although tightening up a defence that has shipped a league-high 41 goals after 18 matches is arguably the biggest concern.

Eight of Nurnberg’s nine defeats in their recent winless streak have arrived by at least two goals, and the visitors head to Mainz looking to improve upon a road record that reads W0-D2-L6, losing by an aggregate score of 5-27. It’s therefore easy to oppose the beleaguered away side on Saturday.

Mainz fancied to succeed

Nurnberg boast just a 31% Expected Goals from open play ratio in the Bundesliga – comfortably the division’s worst effort and their paltry average of 0.48 xG from open play is also easily rock-bottom when compared to their league rivals. I’m therefore happy to take Mainz with a -0.50 Asian Handicap at 1.74.

Mainz kicked off the second half of the season with a 3-1 success away to Stuttgart. The O-Fivers took advantage of defensive disarray in the Swabians backline to secure the three points, a result that sees Sandro Schwarz’s side move 10 points clear of danger and into the relative safety of mid-table.

The hosts have only suffered two defeats in nine outings at their Opel Arena home this term – against Dortmund and Bayern Munich – as they’ve also held the likes of Wolfsburg, Hertha and Eintracht Frankfurt to stalemates here. Mainz have won three of their last four (W3-D1-L0) against bottom-half teams, and seen off the likes of Stuttgart, Augsburg and Werder Bremen on home soil.

The O-Fivers don’t necessarily excel in the performance data metrics but their W10-D6-L3 return in front of their home supporters when excluding the top-four since the start of last season should ensure they put in a decent display.

Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Mainz -0.50 at 1.740

Preview by: @MarkOHaire.

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