Mainz prove doubters wrong again to return to Bundesliga summit
Many people may be expecting that the wheels will soon fall off Mainz’ fine start to the Bundesliga season, but their latest win at Leverkusen may prove that there is still fuel in the tank.
After winning their opening seven games of the season, Mainz suffered their first hiccup when beaten at home by Hamburg.
And they faced a tough trip to one of their leading Bundesliga title rivals Leverkusen to try to return to winning ways and they obliged thanks to a single goal from substitute Andreas Ivanschitz.
This result helped them return to the top of the standings, but they remain 6/1 underdogs to win the Bundesliga for the first time behind Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich.
Among the leading factors in their favour is that they seem to have little trouble scoring goals, as they have netted at least twice in seven of their nine league outings so far.
Meanwhile, they have only conceded eight times in their nine games and three of these came on the opening day of the season when they claimed victory at Wolfsburg.
The energetic style employed by coach Thomas Tuchel seems to be proving especially fruitful away from home as they have won all four of their games on their travels.
These have also come over some of their biggest title rivals, with Wolfsburg, Werder Bremen, Bayern and Leverkusen all turned over on their own patch.
What remains to be seen is whether the starting team have the stamina to retain their energetic style over the course of a whole season or whether the squad players have the necessary talent to step in when required.
Furthermore, the bulk of the squad are young and relatively inexperienced, which leads to the question of whether they have the mental strength to perform to their highest level once the pressure really begins.
Another big test faces Mainz next as they host second-placed Dortmund, who are the 13/8 favourites to win the Bundesliga. See the full Bundesliga winners betting odds market.