Bayern Munich will look to capitalise on their winning momentum as they host 1.FSV Mainz 05 at the Allianz Arena on Saturday.

Following a disastrous start to the campaign, Bayern Munich have managed to turn things around a bit, securing a comfortable win over FC Schalke 04 in the last game. They will look to continue that winning momentum when they welcome 1.FSV Mainz 05 at the Allianz Arena on Saturday afternoon.

The Bavarians are coming on the back of a 3-0 win over Schalke in the topspiel last weekend. Although they weren’t exactly at their best, a hat-trick from Robert Lewandowski was enough to down the Royal Blues – the only team in the league yet to score a goal this season. However, things could be trickier against a Mainz side, who are known for their unpredictability and counter-attacking prowess.

The carnival club, however, haven’t had the best of starts, having lost both of their games against SC Freiburg and Borussia Monchengladbach. They did score the opener in the defeat to Gladbach. But, an erratic defensive display saw the Foals come back from behind to secure a comprehensive 3-1 victory at the Coface Arena last weekend.

And here, at the Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these two sides ahead of their exciting Bundesliga match-up tomorrow afternoon.

Team News & Tactics

Bayern Munich

The return of Thiago Alcantara would serve as a massive boost for Bayern coach Niko Kovac this weekend. However, it could force Benjamin Pavard to settle for the bench, as Joshua Kimmich is likely to shift back to his preferred right-back role. David Alaba, meanwhile, will retain his place on the opposite flank.

GELSENKIRCHEN, GERMANY - AUGUST 24: Javier Martinez and Thiago Alcantara (R) of Bayern Muenchen talk prior the Bundesliga match between FC Schalke 04 and FC Bayern Muenchen at Veltins-Arena on August 24, 2019 in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. (Photo by Jörg Schüler/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Alcantara is expected to return to the starting lineup this weekend. (Photo by Jörg Schüler/Bongarts/Getty Images)

In midfield, Thiago could be partnered by Corentin Tolisso, who will get the nod ahead of Leon Goretzka and Javi Martinez in the double-pivot. The Frenchman, however, needs to put in consistent performances if he is to become a regular fixture in Bayern’s starting eleven.

Marquee signing Philippe Coutinho made his Bayern Munich debut as a substitute against Schalke last weekend. This time around, he could make his full debut in front of the home fans. His inclusion in the number ten role will come at the expense of Thomas Muller.

The attack will be spearheaded by none other than Lewandowski, who is in red-hot form, having netted five goals in just two matches. He will be supported by the wide duo of Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman. Ivan Perisic, on the other hand, could be utilised as an impact sub later on in the game.

And finally, the central defensive pairing will comprise of Niklas Sule and new signing Lucas Hernandez, with Manuel Neuer retaining his place in between the sticks. The central defenders will need to be sharp against the fierce Mainz attack.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Neuer; Kimmich, Sule, Hernandez, Alaba; Alcantara, Tolisso; Gnabry, Coutinho, Coman; Lewandowski.

1.FSV Mainz 05

The absence of Jean-Philippe Mateta will be a massive blow for Mainz boss Sandro Schwarz. The Frenchman was Mainz’s weapon-in-chief. But, he has been ruled out with a knee injury and will likely be replaced by new signing Adam Szalai.

WUERZBURG, GERMANY - AUGUST 10: Adam Szalai of TSG 1899 Hoffenheim celebrates victory with fans after the DFB Cup first round match between FC Wuerzburger Kickers and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim at flyeralarm Arena on August 10, 2019 in Wuerzburg, Germany. (Photo by Christian Kaspar-Bartke/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Can Szalai make a difference at Mainz upon his return? (Photo by Christian Kaspar-Bartke/Bongarts/Getty Images)

The Hungarian forward returned to Mainz in a free transfer from TSG Hoffenheim earlier this week. He will be partnered by Robin Quaison, who, in turn, will be deputising for the injured Dong-Won Ji in attack. These two players will play a vital role in the visitors’ first line of press.

Schwarz is likely to stick to a 4-3-1-2 setup, meaning Jean-Paul Boetius will continue to operate as the lone attacking midfielder. The Dutchman will be the 05-ers’ primary source of creativity, and it will be interesting to see how he maneuvres the Bayern backline this weekend.

The midfield three will consist of Pierre Kunde Malong, Danny Latza and new signing Edimilson Fernandes. All of them will look to disrupt Bayern’s flow in midfield. But, they must adhere to a particular pressing scheme if they are to nullify the threat provided by the likes of Thiago, Tolisso and Coutinho.

And finally, the backline will comprise of Aaron Martin, Alexander Hack, Moussa Niakhate and Daniel Brosinski, with Florian Muller starting in goal.

Probable Lineup (4-3-1-2): Muller; Brosinski, Hack, Niakhate, Martin; Latza, Malong, Fernandes; Boetius; Szalai, Quaison.

Key Stats

  • Robert Lewandowski has scored all of Bayern’s five Bundesliga goals so far this season.
  • Alphonso Davies netted his first and so far only Bundesliga goal against Mainz, scoring the final goal in Matchday 26’s 6-0 win last season.
  • Bayern have won each of their last four matches against Mainz, scoring 14 goals in total and conceding just once.
  • Mateta scored 30% of Mainz’s Bundesliga goals last season (14/46), with Schwarz’s side netting just once in three competitive matches without him this term.
  • Only Borussia Dortmund and Gladbach (both three) have won more Bundesliga games at the Allianz Arena against Bayern than Mainz (two).

Player to Watch

Philippe Coutinho

VILSHOFEN, GERMANY - AUGUST 25: Philippe Coutinho of FC Bayern Muenchen runs with the ball during the Traumspiel between Vilshofen Rot Weiss and FC Bayern Muenchen at Klaus Augenthaler Stadion on August 25, 2019 in Vilshofen, Germany. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images)

All eyes will be on Coutinho this weekend. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Coutinho showed a lot of promise in his Bayern Munich debut against Schalke. He linked up well with the likes of Perisic and Alaba on the left-flank. And even though he will likely be deployed as an attacking midfielder, it will be interesting to see if his tendency of drifting into the left flank becomes evident this weekend.

Either way, Coutinho’s ability to manipulate the opposition defence with his nimble footwork and brilliant vision could keep the Mainz backline busy throughout the ninety minutes. But most importantly, the Brazilian is by far the highest earner at Bayern right now. He will, thus, have a point to prove. Putting in an excellent performance against the 05-ers could boost his confidence.

Prediction

Bayern Munich 2-0 1.FSV Mainz 05

Bayern Munich look to have escaped their early season blues and are now back to their best. This is coupled with the exciting additions of Coutinho and Michael Cuisance that will only enhance the overall quality of the Bavarians. We expect them to secure a comfortable 2-0 win over the visitors this weekend.

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