Mainz will look to get back to winning ways, but will find it tough against Bayer Leverkusen on Friday.
Mainz v Bayer Leverkusen
Thursday 7th February
Before last week’s 3-0 drubbing at the hands of Augsberg, Mainz enjoyed a four game unbeaten run where they won two and drew two. Within this period they managed to score eight. However, their manager Sandro Schwarz would be concerned that his side achieved no clean sheets , with them conceding six goals in the four matches.
Scoring goals has not been a problem for Mainz this season. Mainz have averaged over one goal per game (1.10). This trend has continued in their home form, at the Opel Arena this season as their goal average is at 1.20 goals per home game. The home side for this game have only failed to score in six of their twenty Bundesliga matches. Before the 3-0 defeat to Augsberg, Mainz had not failed to score since October. Due to losing key attacking players in the summer, Mainz found it hard in the opening months of the season to get goals. They lost Muto and de Blasis to Newcastle United and Eibar respectively. This allowed Mainz to bring in the striker Jean-Philippe Mateta from Lyon, who heads the scoring charts for Mainz with six goals.
On the other hand, Mainz have been woeful defensively, earning only four clean sheets all season. Conceding at least a goal per game (1.40). The home side have conceded thirteen league goals in six games. Contributing to the defensive frailties this season is the loss of Abdou Diallo in the summer to Dortmund, who was ever-present in defence last season and the injury to Florian Muller which kept, the German keeper out of the side from October until after the Winter break.
Supporting Mainz this season is the fact that the stats improve when they play at home in the league. The home side have only failed to score twice in ten home matches. They have kept three clean sheets in ten matches which is more than the one clean sheet gained from playing away. Although they still have the undesirable stat of scoring as many as they concede, the average for conceding goals reduces from 1.40 to 1.00 when playing at the Opel Arena.
Form is up and down for Bayer Leverkusen who ran out 2-1 winners against Bayern in their last Bundesliga game and 3-0 winners to against Wolfsburg only to stall in the DFB Pokal and be knocked out of the tournament by 2. Bundesliga side Heidenheim. To put Leverkusen on a more steady path, the club’s board let go of Heiko Herrlich and replaced him with Peter Bosz in late December 2018. It hasn’t quite worked, as the away side have two losses and two wins in the four games Bosz has taken control of, so the inconsistencies are still present.
Despite this, Leverkusen have won their last two away games in the Bundesliga. Bosz has added to his predecessor’s win at Schalke, with a 3-0 win at Wolfsburg in January. However in the last five away games, wins have been few and far between, with the side losing twice, winning only twice and drawing once at the relegation side, Nurnberg. Even though Leverkusen have only failed to score in three away games out of ten, they have been somewhat vulnerable defensively. These vulnerabilities have seen Bosz’s side pick up only two clean sheets in ten matches.
Just like Mainz, Leverkusen have developed a habit where they average the same amount of goals scored to the amount that they concede, with both stats at just over one goal per game. This has led to both teams to score in 60% of their matches both home and away this season.
Mainz have no fresh injury concerns for their clash with Leverkusen. Despite missing Rene Adler, Niko Bungert and Philipp Mwene, these absentees have been missing due to long term injuries.
Leverkusen on the other hand, will still be without Lars Bender through a thigh injury sustained in the 3-0 win over Wolfsburg, and without Bayern loanee Kai Havertz who missed out on Leverkusen’s last match against Heidenheim in the DFB Pokal.
Going into the match on Friday, Leverkusen are favourites, priced at 5/6 while Mainz are valued at 11/4 to get a win. However it may be worth ignoring the match result given that Mainz and Bayer Leverkusen have been showing their capabilities playing home and away respectively, whilst also showing the inconsistencies in their form which could reappear on Friday for either side. Although if you are opting for a match result bet I would recommend Mainz or draw for this one, which is priced at 10/11.
I believe the goals market has the best chance of betting success. Games including Mainz have seen the last five out of six games end with over 2.5 goals being scored. Likewise for Leverkusen, their last six games have seen the match end with 2.5 goals being scored. The bookies price for over 2.5 goals is 4/7. You can add more value to this bet by adding both teams to score which is priced at 1/2, both teams scoring has occurred in five out of six of Mainz’s games. For Leverkusen it’s four out of six game.
Looking at the cards market. Due to Mainz not picking up any red cards this season and apart from the one that Bayer Leverkusen picked up, both teams are sitting high in the Bundesliga fair play tables. In the last six games, Mainz have averaged only 20 booking points per game (two bookings) whereas Leverkusen have only averaged 25 booking points (two and a half bookings). The bookies would offer 9/4 odds for under 2.5 cards to be handed out, but for less risk, they would offer 41/50 for under 3.5 cards to be handed out which would accommodate for both sides’ booking averages.
Over 2.5 goals (4/7)
Mainz to win or draw – Double Chance (10/11)
Under 3.5 cards to be handed out (41/50)