Bayern Munich will look to extend their winning run to three games as they travel to Coface Arena to face 1.FSV Mainz on Saturday.

Bayern Munich fans will, no doubt, be happy with their team’s performances in the last couple of matches as they have now secured back to back wins after the end of the international break. However, Niko Kovac’s men will be eager to extend their winning run to three games as they visit Coface Arena to face Mainz on Saturday.

The Bavarians are currently fourth in the league table with 16 points on the board. Although they did make amends after a four-game winless run prior to the international break, a win would be imperative for the defending champions as they look to move ahead of Borussia Monchengladbach and Werder Bremen in the league standings.

Mainz, on the other hand, are coming on the back of a humiliating 4-0 defeat over high-flying Gladbach with ex-Mainz midfielder Jonas Hofmann scoring a hat-trick. That being said, a 05-ers boast a resolute defence having conceded just eight goals so far, four of which came in the defeat against Gladbach.

As a matter of fact, Sandro Schwarz’s men had the best defensive record prior to the last matchday letting in just four goals in seven games.

However, Mainz have picked up only two points from their last five matches, during which they have failed to score a single goal. Therefore, lack of attacking impetus will surely be a cause for concern for Schwarz, as his team has netted only four goals so far – least by any Bundesliga team this season.

And here, at the Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over both the sides in their high-octane fixture at the Coface Arena this weekend.

Team news & tactics

1. FSV Mainz 05

Despite a 4-0 battering at the hands of Gladbach last weekend, Sandro Schwarz is unlikely to make any substantial changes to his starting lineup with Florian Muller once starting in goal. The youngster will be aiming for his third clean sheet of the season.

Can Sandro Schwarz mastermind an upset this weekend? (Photo by Alex Grimm/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Can Sandro Schwarz mastermind an upset this weekend? (Photo by Alex Grimm/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Daniel Brosinski and Aaron Martin will retain their place as fullbacks while Moussa Niakhate will partner Stefan Bell in central defence. Bell, in particular, has an ample amount of experience in the German top flight but his underwhelming performances certainly haven’t helped Mainz this season and thus, he will be looking to produce a solid defensive display this weekend.

Danny Latza could be given a start in this one as his industry and dynamism could create a lot of problem for the Bayern midfield. Latza will partner Pierre Kunde and Jean-Philippe Gbamin at the base of Mainz’s 4-3-1-2. Gbamin is Mainz’s star player and his sharp tackling as well as his charismatic style of play could be a boon for the hosts this weekend.

In attack, Jean-Paul Boetius will continue to feature as the lone attacking midfielder in behind the offensive duo of Jean-Philippe Mateta and Anthony Ujah, who is Mainz’s top scorer, scoring two of Mainz’s four goals in the league this season.

Probable Lineup (4-3-1-2)Muller; Brosinski, Bell, Niakhate, Martin; Gbamin, Kunde, Latza; Boetius; Ujah, Mateta.

Bayern Munich

Niko Kovac is expected to make some changes from the team that secured a 2-0 win over AEK in midweek. Niklas Sule has fared pretty well after the international break and should retain his place in central defence but his defensive partner Mats Hummels could be given a rest. As a result, Jerome Boateng could be introduced at the heart of the Bayern defence alongside Sule.

Hummels could be rested this weekend. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Hummels could be rested this weekend. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Joshua Kimmich will continue to feature as the right-back as well as Rafinha, whose excellent display against AEK will earn him a start this weekend against Mainz. In addition, Kovac is unlikely to risk David Alaba anyway, which almost guarantees a place for Rafinha in the starting eleven.

With the Mainz midfield boasting pace and vigour, Javi Martinez could be dumped in midfield in place of Leon Goretzka who looked promising after appearing as a substitute against AEK. Goretzka will serve as the lone defensive midfield while Thiago Alcantara and Thomas Muller will operate in slightly advanced positions.

In attack, Arjen Robben will miss out this contest after conceding a red card against Wolfsburg last weekend. As a result, Franck Ribery will make his first start after the international break. The Frenchman will be deployed as the left winger with Serge Gnabry occupying the opposite flank.

And finally, the Bayern attack will be led by Robert Lewandowski, who has been in sensational form after returning from international duty. The ex-Dortmund striker has already netted three goals in his last two matches and will be keen on extending his scoring tally this weekend.

Probable Lineup (4-1-4-1): Neuer; Kimmich, Boateng, Sule, Rafinha; Goretzka; Gnabry, Muller, Alcantara, Ribery; Lewandowski.

Key stats

  • Mainz have scored only four goals this season despite attempting fifth most shots(14.1) in the division.
  • At this time of last year, Bayern collected only more point than this year, despite a three-game winless streak in the league.
  • Bayern have a strong record against Mainz, winning 11 of their last 13 against the 05-ers.
  • Bayern have scored at least 2 goals in their last 9 away matches against Mainz in all competitions.
  • Mainz have kept a clean sheet in 6 of their last 8 home matches.

Player to watch

Serge Gnabry

Time for Gnabry to shine! (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Time for Gnabry to shine! (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images)

After the end of the international break, it’s probably fair to point out that Serge Gnabry has arguably been the most impressive attacker for FC Bayern. The former Arsenal prodigy, despite failing to score a single goal this season, has looked lively and menacing whenever he was called upon.

And now with Arjen Robben this weekend, Gnabry will be presented with a golden opportunity to impress against Mainz as he looks to nail down a regular place in the starting lineup.

The German international is blessed with sheer pace which could help him wreak havoc in the opposition defence, who looked complacent in the 4-0 defeat to Gladbach last weekend, thus making him the one to look forward to in this fascinating contest.

Prediction

Mainz 0-2 Bayern Munich

Considering Bayern’s fiery form going into this game which is coupled with his Mainz’s own problems, the Bavarians are the obvious favourites to seal all three points in this encounter. In addition, the likes of Robert Lewandowski and Thiago Alcantara have looked in great shape and thus, we could expect the German champions to seal a comfortable 2-0 win over Sandro Schwarz’s men this weekend.

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