Mainz hope to make history
Mainz can write themselves into the history books this weekend alongside the most successful starters to a Bundesliga season if they clinch their seventh straight victory when they host Hoffenheim at the Stadion am Bruchweg.
Last weekend's 2-1 win at Bayern Munich has kept them on course for a record which was set by the Bavarians in 1995 and equalled by Kaiserslautern in 2001, but coach Thomas Tuchel is not getting carried away.
"It is only a big game for the media, nothing else," he said. "It's nothing which helps us but it will not distract us either. I don't see any sign that the team is being distracted by this so I don't have any reason to speak in the conditional. We have no time for dreaming. We have to just carry on with what we are doing and focus on our next challenge."
Mainz's win against the champions moved them ten points clear of Bayern and a poll conducted by the Bild newspaper showed that ten of their league rivals now have them down as serious title candidates.
Borussia Dortmund, who are now led by former Mainz coach Jurgen Klopp, have also boosted their title credentials with five wins in a row and they host Bayern tomorrow in what is already looking like a pivotal game in the defending champions' season.
Defeat for Bayern at the Westfalenstadion would see them drop even further behind. "Sunday is crucial and we can have no excuses - we must win," said Bayern captain Mark van Bommel in Kicker magazine.
Bayern are not the only side desperate for a win this weekend, with struggling Schalke and Stuttgart also keen to launch their seasons. Both have won just one of their six matches this season and, rather than challenging at the top of the table, they currently occupy the bottom two positions in the league.
Schalke travel to Nurnberg on Saturday while Stuttgart host Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday. At the other end of the table, Hannover have the chance to move up to second tomorrow night when they host St Pauli. Elsewhere, Hamburg welcome Kaiserslautern to the HSV-Arena, Borussia Monchengladbach entertain a resurgent Wolfsburg, Cologne travel to Freiburg's Dreisamstadion and Bayer Leverkusen host Werder Bremen.