Bayern Munich will look to retain their status as league leaders as they host 1. FSV Mainz 05 at the Allianz Arena on Sunday.
It has been a tough week for Bayern Munich so far, with the Bavarians suffering a 3-1 defeat to Liverpool in midweek that knocked them out of the UEFA Champions League. And coach Niko Kovac will be demanding a much better performance as his team locks horns with 1. FSV Mainz 05 on Saturday at the Allianz Arena.
Bayern dethroned Borussia Dortmund from the number one spot last weekend with a convincing 6-0 win over VfL Wolfsburg and following midweek’s defeat, the focus will solely remain on winning the Bundesliga for the seventh consecutive time.
The defending champions are leading the Black and Yellows due to a superior goal difference but that could change even if they register a victory against Mainz this weekend. Therefore, the hosts will look to maintain their scoring run in the Bundesliga, having plundered 11 goals in their last two league matches.
As for Mainz, they are coming on the back of an awful run of form that has seen them register only one win in their last five matches. As a result, the carnival outfit are dawdling in the wrong end of the table, with just 30 points on the board.
And, here at the Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the two sides ahead of this important match-up in the Bundesliga this weekend.
Team News & Tactics
Kovac will continue to miss out on the services of Arjen Robben and Corentin Tolisso, meaning the Croatian could once again utilize Thomas Muller as the right-sided winger, with Franck Ribery likely to settle for a place on the bench.
James Rodriguez is expected to retain his role as the lone attacking midfielder while Serge Gnabry will be deployed in the left-wing slot, where he will look to make full use of his pace against Daniel Brosinski. The Bayern Munich attack will be led by Robert Lewandowski, who is currently the top scorer in the league with 17 goals.
Javi Martinez will start ahead of Leon Goretzka at the base of Bayern’s 4-2-3-1 and the Spaniard will be partnered by compatriot Thiago Alcantara, who will be tasked with the responsibility of easing the transition from midfield to attack while Martinez will look provide cover for the backline.
Speaking of which, Jerome Boateng may return to the heart of the four-man backline, at the expense of Mats Hummels. The former Manchester City defender will be partnered by Niklas Sule, who has been an ever-present figure in defence this season.
Elsewhere, Joshua Kimmich and David Alaba will occupy the fullback roles, with Manuel Neuer starting in goal, looking for his ninth clean sheet of the campaign.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Neuer; Kimmich, Boateng, Sule, Alaba; Martinez, Alcantara; Muller, Rodriguez, Gnabry; Lewandowski.
1. FSV Mainz 05
After a narrow defeat to Borussia Moenchengladbach last weekend, Mainz boss Sandro Schwarz could make some alterations to his side as they attempt to contain the mighty attack of Bayern Munich this weekend.
The defence, however, could remain unchanged with Schwarz lacking resources in the said department. Therefore, Stefan Bell and Moussa Niakhate are guaranteed starters at the heart of the four-man backline while Aaron Martin and Daniel Brosinski will occupy the fullback slots.
In midfield, Schwarz could recall Pierre Kunde, whose work-ethic and tenacity will be key in dealing with the technically astute Bayern midfielders. Kunde will be partnered by Jean-Philippe Gbamin and Danny Latza, both of whom are known for their willingness to press the opposition and initiate turnovers in midfield.
Levin Oztunali is likely to be relegated to the bench due to the addition of an extra midfielder, meaning Jean-Paul Boetius will operate as the lone attacking midfielder for the visitors this weekend.
Boetius will look to carve out the opposing defence with his clever passes but it will be Robin Quaison and Jean-Philippe Mateta, who will look to catch Bayern on the counter. Anthony Ujah will provide Schwarz with an additional option in the final third.
Probable Lineup (4-3-1-2): Muller; Brosinski, Bell, Niakhate, Martin; Gbamin, Kunde, Latza; Boetius; Quaison, Mateta.
- Mainz have suffered more defeats and conceded more goals against Bayern Munich than they have against any other opponents in the Bundesliga.
- Bayern Munich have been in red-hot form, of late, winning 12 of their previous 13 Bundesliga encounters.
- The Bavarians also have a strong record against Mainz, winning 12 out of their last 14 meetings in all competitions.
- Bayern have scored at least 2 goals in 12 of their last 15 matches.
- The 2-1 away win back in March 2016 was Mainz’s only win against Bayern in their 14 league meetings.
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Bayern Munich’s star striker Robert Lewandowski criticized Niko Kovac for his defensive approach against Liverpool in midweek, which, according to him, was the main reason behind their defeat to the Reds.
Although Kovac has denied the criticism, it will be interesting to see whether or not he will able to utilize Bayern Munich attack in a more effective manner and it goes without saying that Lewandowski will be the focal point of that attack.
The Polish international has been in a prolific goalscoring form, of late, having scored four goals in his last two Bundesliga matches. And with Mainz likely to defend in deep blocks, Lewandowski’s efficiency in front of goal could be crucial as Bayern seek to retain their status as league leaders come the end of this week’s round of fixtures.
Bayern Munich 3-0 1. FSV Mainz 05
Bayern have almost looked invincible during the second half of this campaign and it seems rather unlikely that Mainz will be able to cause any upset his weekend, keeping in mind, their lack of solidity in defence coupled with an ineffective attacking unit that has scored only 27 goals this season. Thus, we expect a comfortable 3-0 win for the hosts in this one.