I will start my preview with the recent history. The last matches between Mainz and Stuttgart have been very efficient.
I will present the last four:
18.05.2013. Stuttgart – Mainz 2:2
15.12.2012. Mainz – Stuttgart 3:1
07.04.2012. Stuttgart – Mainz 4:1
04.11.2011. Mainz – Stuttgart 3:1
As You can see, a total of 17 goals were scored on the mentioned four games, which means an average of more then four goals per game. I expect this efficiency to be continued.
Mainz started the new season with a cup victory over Fortuna Koln. They won 2:1 and I am sure that win will have a positive impact to the players confidence. The fans are dreaming about Europe, even it is clear that is a difficult task. The team are stronger now as some good and experienced players signed during the Summer transfer window – Christoph Moritz, Julian Koch, Shinji Okazaki, Dani Schahin and Park Joo-Ho. The captain of the team is Macedonian international Nikolce Noveski. The 34 years-old central defender is a key figure in the defense, but I think he is old and slow. Mainz defense is also a reason for my pick.
Stuttgart finished the last season on 12th place, but still managed to qualify for UEFA Europe league through the national cup. They lost from Bayern Munich in the DFB Pokal final, but since Bayern Munich play in Champions League they secured European participation. Stuttgart have already started the new season and even played three official matches. “Die Schwaben” won 2:0 against lower division BFC Dynamo in the first round of DFB Pokal, while also managed to eliminate Bulgarian side Botev Plovdiv in UEFA Europe League. In the next round they are big favorites against Croatian team Rijeka and it is expected Stuttgart to reach the group stage in this competition. The atmosphere in the squad is positive and the players confidence are high at the moment. Konstantin Rausch, Mohammed Abdellaoue and Moritz Leitner (on loan) are the new names in the squad and that’s a positive moment for the coach Bruno Labbadia.
First round and full Coface-Arena in Mainz should inspire the players from both teams. The referee of the match is experienced Florian Meyer, so I expect a good and fluent match with at least three goals.