Mainz vs Wolfsburg Preview

Wolfsburg coach Dieter Hecking has warned his players to buck up their ideas after the team slipped to 15th in the Bundesliga table last weekend.

Finally Wolfsburg can breathe easy...

For the second season running, the Wolves find themselves struggling at the wrong end of the table and Hecking is keen to hammer home to the players that, despite some good performances of late, they still must not feel they are safe in any way.

Ten points may separate them from the bottom three, but with 12 games to go that is not a cushion they can rest on with any degree of comfort.

"We have got to remain wide awake," Hecking said.

"So many strange things have already happened in the Bundesliga, and we don't want to add another this season.

"We therefore need to keep an eye on the gap below us, even if we would prefer to look at what is going on above us."

European football is the last thing on Wolfsburg's mind, at least on Saturday.

They can turn their attention back to the possibility of qualifying for Europe after Saturday's game when the focus turns to a DFB-Pokal quarter-final tie with third-division Kickers Offenbach next week.

"First of all, we have an important Bundesliga game tomorrow and that is where our focus lies," added Hecking.

"But a thought ahead to midweek is not forbidden. Of course we are looking forward to the midweek match and we hope to earn another midweek match, but we will think about how we will do that after tomorrow."

Mainz are also in cup action in midweek when they face Freiburg, but they too are waiting until after Saturday before dealing with that match.

"It's still a long way off," said assistant coach Arno Michels, who deputised for the ill Thomas Tuchel at the pre-match press conference.

"We are trying to adapt our training workload in view of it, but that is all."

Tuchel, who has been struck down by the flu, should still be on the bench on Saturday, but Shawn Parker is suspended and both Jan Kirchhoff and Niko Bungert are injured.

Wolfsburg are without Fagner, but Patrick Helmes is in their squad and set for a return after a six-month injury absence.

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