Hoffenheim vs Mainz Preview

Hoffenheim could leave the bottom two with a win over Mainz, but to do that, they need to be on top form, according to their coach Marco Kurz.

A glimmer of hope for the home team...

Victory over Greuther Furth last weekend narrowed the gap to 16th-placed Augsburg - who currently occupy the relegation play-off berth - with the bottom two going down automatically.

That win also boosted the club's self-esteem and Kurz now wants his side to carry that into Saturday's home fixture against a side he defined "unpredictable".

"It was clear to see during training this week that the win had done us good," said Kurz.

"The team believe in themselves, in their ability, in the club and, of course, in their chances of staying up."

Eighteen points separate the two sides in the Bundesliga standings with Mainz pushing for a place in Europe, thanks to what Kurz says is a tactical flexibility which makes them so difficult to fathom.

"They are famous for their many changes of system under Thomas Tuchel," Kurz told reporters. "You never quite know whether they will end the game with the same formation they started it with."

That, and a bit of luck, are the secrets to Mainz's success.

"It's very difficult to win in the Bundesliga if you don't have some luck," said their coach Thomas Tuchel, whose side benefited from a controversial refereeing decision to defeat Bayer Leverkusen last weekend.

"To beat the third team in the league does you good and this is reflected in the atmosphere.

"It's no secret that it has influenced our week's training positively."

The home side welcome David Abraham back into their squad after a groin strain while Jan Kirchhoff returns to action for Mainz.

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