The first game of two on Sunday pits the best performing of the newly-promoted sides, Köln, against established top-flight outfit Mainz who seem determined to participate in a fraught relegation battle this season.
Köln may have lost the first game 3-1 between the two back in October, yet go into Sunday’s meeting firm favourites at 19/20 to extend the gap between themselves and Jurgen Klopp’s former side to 9 points. Despite losing 10 of their first 14 games, Köln find themselves only 5 points from 6th-placed Schalke after a 2-0 win in their 15th game against Bayer Leverkusen, would see them go on to win 7 in 10 before the March suspension. Many observers agree that Die Geißböcke are a better side than their current 10th position suggests.
If Mainz are to come away from the RheinEnergieStadion with an unlikely win, which Sky Bet have as a 5/2 chance, it will be essential that they show an improvement defensively. Away from home, Die Nullfünfer have conceded at a rate of almost 3 goals per game (2.67) although they had enjoyed their best form of the season before the enforced break, having lost only once in their previous 5 Bundesliga games.
Köln still retain an outside chance of Europa League qualification, while Mainz desperately require points to maintain daylight between themselves and Fortuna in the relegation play-off place. Considering this, a draw would seem unlikely, something supported by the fact that this weekend’s game features the two sides to draw least (twice each) in the league this season.