While Mainz’s 1-1 draw in Cologne last weekend wasn’t enough to lift them off the relegation play-off spot, it is an invaluable point in the context of their battle to beat the drop. The 05ers get another huge opportunity to push themselves further towards safety against an out-of-sorts Freiburg this weekend, though this will be no easy feat: Sandro Schwarz’s men are winless in six (D4 L2) since beating Hertha Berlin in February – just their second three point haul in 17 Bundesliga outings – and right back Giulio Donati, who is Mainz’s second most fielded player this term, is suspended following his red card in Cologne.
Freiburg are also six matches without a win (D2 L4), an alarming run that includes successive defeats against Stuttgart, Schalke and – most recently – fellow strugglers Wolfsburg over their last three. Should Wolfsburg avoid defeat against Augsburg and Freiburg lose again, Christian Streich’s men will fall below Mainz into the relegation play-off spot. Goals are proving the main issue for the South Germans, with only nine scored in their 12 matches since the turn of the year, and the continued absences of the likes of Florian Niederlechner and Yoric Ravet leaves them short of alternatives in attack alongside top scorer Nils Petersen.
So how does this one look in terms of betting? Well, with both teams in similar form and league position, the draw looks a cracking price on Monday, and here’s why: first and foremost, while both sides have a reasonable possibility of survival, this will be no easy fixture for either, and neither team will want to walk away from this empty handed. Freiburg have become a notoriously stubborn side to beat on their travels – that is, the South Germans have drawn five of their last seven Bundesliga away days – while Mainz haven’t been all that convincing either – in fact, the 05ers have also drawn the majority of their recent matches (D4 L2 in their last six).
One thing that is notable though, is that Freiburg’s away matches have been worth tuning in for, with both teams scoring in seven of their nine on the road (78%). And though neither side is in particularly strong scoring form, finding the back of the net just twice each these over their last six matches, Mainz and Freiburg have the second-worst (47 goals conceded) and third-worst (48 goals conceded) defenses in the Bundesliga respectively. With that in mind, it’s not unreasonable to expect a goal at each end in a tight and scrappy affair. Our prediction: a 1-1 draw.
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