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  3. Similar styles of play and strong defences

Similar styles of play and strong defences


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After Mainz started a Bundesliga season with an away win for the first time ever last week by beating Bochum 2-1, they will be hoping to build on this with another victory this Sunday (15:30 CEST) against 1. FC Union Berlin. “Union are a very settled side and know what they’re doing. They test their opponents in a number of ways. We will need answers for all these challenges,” said head coach Bo Svensson at the pre-match press conference on Friday. 

A look at the opposition

1. FC Union Berlin were promoted to the Bundesliga for the first time in 2019 after winning on away goals against VfB Stuttgart in the relegation play-off. The first leg ended 2-2 in Stuttgart and the Berliners held on for a goalless draw back at the Stadion an der Alten Försterei. Since then, FCU have more than established themselves in the top flight and have made Europe in their last two seasons. They played in the Conference League in 2021/22 and will take part in the Europa League this term.

Head-to-head record

The two sides have an even record against one another, both recording five wins across the 12 meetings to date. The Zerofivers and Union faced off six times between 2001 and 2004 in the second division, with Mainz only losing once and drawing on one occasion too. However, Union have had the edge in the Bundesliga, only losing once since 2019. FCU also did the double over Mainz last season.

First wins

Mainz won away on the first matchday of a Bundesliga season for the first time ever at Bochum last weekend. Union’s 3-1 derby victory over Hertha was their first on the opening matchday ever.

New club record?

In a run stretching back to last season, Union are unbeaten in eight games and could set a new club record if they avoid defeat in Mainz.

A long time since two wins to start

In 16 Bundesliga seasons, Mainz have only started with two wins on three occasions. This last happened in 2013/14 under Thomas Tuchel, whose team defeated both Stuttgart and Freiburg.

Two red cards

Dominik Kohr was sent off in both games against Union Berlin last season, his only red cards across the whole of 2021/22.

How may I assist you?

Anton Stach has set up one goal in each of his last four Bundesliga games. His corner was headed in by Karim Onisiwo in Bochum last time out.

Most goal contributions

Onisiwo’s brace in Bochum moved him to 48 goal contributions for Mainz in the Bundesliga. That saw him draw level with Yunus Malli – no player has been directly involved in more goals for the club in the top flight.

Not much possession

Both teams tend to get the ball forward quickly and therefore average low amounts of possession. Mainz only saw 46% of the ball last season and Union 45%. The two sides also had a lower amount of possession on the opening matchday than their opponents: Union with 48.7, Mainz 39.4%.

Solid at the back

Only FC Bayern and RB Leipzig (both 37) conceded fewer goals than Union Berlin and Mainz 05 last season. The Zerofivers let in 45 goals, whilst Union were even stronger in defence, conceding just 44.

Mainz’s strength at home         

Mainz kept nine clean sheets at home last season – no other team managed more than seven shutouts on home turf. Overall, Bo Svensson’s side only let in 11 goals in 17 home matches in 2021/22 and lost just two games at the MEWA Arena.

Similar styles of play and strong defences

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