Just one point and one place separate the pair in the table, with the visitors able to leapfrog the hosts with a victory.
In their first top-flight campaign since 2009-10, Bochum have shown that they can compete in the big time, picking up a respectable 23 points from their first 18 fixtures.
Averaging over one point in their Bundesliga encounters so far, Bochum will be confident of swerving the drop come the end of the season.
Should they finish the campaign in their current position of 11th or higher, it will represent Bochum's highest standing in a Bundesliga season since 2006-07, when Die Unabsteigbaren ended the term in eighth.
Without question, their strong league position this season is down to performances at the Ruhrstadion, with Bochum currently eighth in the table for points taken at home, compared to 14th for their efforts on the road.
Winners in just one of their previous four away games, Bochum will enter the weekend targeting only a third victory overall on the road this season.
Hoping to deny them three points will be Mainz, who occupy the place in front of Bochum following a similarly indifferent first half of the campaign.
Having won just two of their previous eight matches in the Bundesliga, Mainz have plateaued in mid-table and show little sign of improving on results.
Heavy 4-1 losers in the first fixture after the winter break to RB Leipzig, a Ruckrunde revival for Mainz seems unlikely, but they will take confidence from their recent record over Bochum.
Mainz are yet to lose to Bochum this century, with Die Unabsteigbaren's last triumph over Die Nullfunfer coming all the way back in December 1999.
Likely to be safe from the threat of relegation, Mainz will be confident of continuing their strong form over Bochum this weekend, yet they will be without a number of key individuals for Saturday's clash.
Adam Szalai underwent surgery in December, with a January return unlikely, meaning Mainz are set to be without the dominative striker for at least another month.
Set to miss the clash due to a Covid infection, Moussa Niakhate will miss his second consecutive game, while Anderson Lucoqui will be absent as his recovery from a media collateral ligament injury continues.
For Alexander Hack, his red card against Leipzig that means he will not feature during the Bochum game.
Expected to be leading the line is Jonathan Burkardt, with the striker already having netted seven times this season, with another goal this weekend no doubt the target.
For the visitors, their treatment room has been relatively empty of late, with Simon Zoller the only likely absentee.
Having endured a torrid campaign, Zoller ruptured his cruciate ligament in early September and has not returned since.
His goals have been a miss for Bochum, with top goalscorer Sebastian Polter having carried the burden of their attack.
Mainz 05 possible starting lineup:
Zentner; Widmer, Bell, Lucoqui; Brosinski, Lee, Stach, Boetius, Caricol; Onisiwo, Burkardt
VfL Bochum possible starting lineup:
Riemann; Gamboa, Bella-Kotchap, Leitsch, Soares; Pantovic, Losilla, Rexhbecaj; Asano, Polter, Holtmann
We say: Mainz 05 2-1 VfL Bochum
Two teams with almost identical records so far this season, Mainz will be hoping that their superior record in recent clashes gives them the edge over Bochum.
While the visitors have impressed this season, it has been at home where their points have come from, making a victory in Saturday's clash an unlikely prospect for Bochum.
body check tags ::
Previews by email