Bayern Munich will look to begin the New Year on a winning note when they lock horns with 1. FSV Mainz 05 at the Allianz Arena on Sunday evening.

The Rückrunde of the 2020/21 Bundesliga season kicks off this weekend and reigning champions Bayern Munich will be in action on Sunday when they take on 1. FSV Mainz 05 at the Allianz Arena as they look to consolidate their position at the top of the table.

Hansi Flick’s side ended the Hinrunde as the league leaders, with 30 points from 13 games and are currently on a 19-game unbeaten run across all competitions, with their latest game ending in a 2-1 win over second-placed Bayer Leverkusen, who are just two points below them and could go on top with a win against Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.

Mainz are without a win in their last six in all competitions, most recently losing to VfL Bochum on penalties in the DFB-Pokal. The Carnival club are second from bottom in Bundesliga, five points off safety, and having appointed Jan Siewert as caretaker manager following the dismissal of Jan-Moritz Lichte earlier this week, will be hoping for a turnaround of fortunes.

The corresponding fixture last season saw Bayern Munich hammer Mainz 6-1 with Benjamin Pavard, David Alaba, Ivan Perisic, Kingsley Coman, Robert Lewandowski and Alphonso Davies all scoring after Jean-Paul Boetius had put the visitors in front. Ahead of their latest meeting on Sunday, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both the teams.

Team News & Tactics

Bayern Munich

Leon Goretzka will be back for Bayern Munich (Photo by Alex Grimm/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Leon Goretzka will be back for Bayern Munich (Photo by Alex Grimm/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Youngster Tanguy Nianzou is ruled out for Bayern Munich with a thigh problem. Leon Goretzka, who missed the last couple of games with a muscle injury, is expected to be back in contention. Kingsley Coman, who had to come off with an injury against Leverkusen last time out, is also likely to be available for selection.

Flick will set his team up in a 4-2-3-1 formation in front of captain Manuel Neuer. Niklas Sule has been preferred at right-back over Benjamin Pavard in the last couple of games and that is likely to the be case once again on Sunday. Alphonso Davies should slot in at left-back, with Jerome Boateng and contract rebel David Alaba lining up at the heart of the Bayern defence.

Joshua Kimmich made his return from injury in the last game against Leverkusen. Having featured from the bench, the German international should start in the midfield double pivot against Mainz. He should have the returning Joshua Kimmich as his partner, with Corentin Tolisso dropping out.

There is no looking past Thomas Muller in the No. 10 role for the Bavarian giants. The 31-year-old will be flanked by the dynamic duo of Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman, although Leroy Sane is also an option at Flick’s disposal. Robert Lewandowski is the undisputed starter in the centre-forward slot for Bayern Munich.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Neuer; Sule, Boateng, Alaba, Davies; Kimmich, Goretzka; Gnabry, Muller, Coman; Lewandowski

1. FSV Mainz 05

Caretaker boss Jan Siewert will have to make do without the services of Phillipp Mwene, who is out with an injury while Moussa Niakhate misses out due to suspension. In addition, Levin Oztunali and Adam Szalai are also doubtful for the fixture against the champions. Pierre Kunde Malong is also ruled out after undergoing a knee surgery earlier this week.

Jan Siewert, in his first game in charge, is likely to set his team up with a three-man defensive unit that will have its task cut out against a dangerous Bayern Munich attack. Luca Kilian should step into the side for the suspended Niakhate to form the backline along with Jeremiah St. Juste and Alexander Hack that will shield Robin Zentner in goal.

Edimilson Fernandes is likely to slot in as the right-sided wing-back while Daniel Brosinski gets the nod on the opposite flank. The duo will flank the central midfield trifecta of Leandro Barreiro, Danny Latza and Jean-Paul Boetius, who will be tasked with pushing forward during the attacking phases.

Robin Quaison should play off of main striker Jean-Philippe Mateta in the attacking third. The latter is the leading goalscorer for Mainz in Bundesliga this season with seven goals, but has failed to score in the last five matches and will want to end that streak.

Probable Lineup (3-5-1-1): Zentner; Kilian, Hack, St. Juste; Fernandes, Barreiro, Latza, Boetius, Brosinski; Quaison; Mateta

Key Stats

  • Bayern Munich have won 14 of their last 16 Bundesliga fixtures against Mainz. Their only defeat during this run came at home in March 2016.
  • Mainz have lost all of their last six Bundesliga fixtures against Bayern Munich and are only on a similar wait for a point against Bayer Leverkusen. They have only ever been on a longer losing run in the competition against the Bavarians (7).
  • Bayern have won all of their last three home games against Mainz in the Bundesliga, scoring 16 goals while shipping in just one. They don’t have a better record across their last three games at home against any team currently in the Bundesliga (also 16-1 record against Schalke).
  • Mainz are without a win in 13 of their last 14 Bundesliga fixtures. They have failed to find the back of the net in their last three league games.
  • Bayern Munich have kept just one clean sheet in their last 12 Bundesliga games while Mainz have managed just one shutout in their last 15 league outings.

Player to Watch

Robert Lewandowski

2020 was the year of Robert Lewandowski. The Poland international enjoyed a brilliant year, playing an integral role as Bayern Munich went on to win five trophies. The 32-year-old, who was named FIFA’s Best Player for 2020, plundered 55 goals last season and has already amassed 20 goals and 5 assists in just 18 games this term.

Lewandowski has scored five times in his last three games, including match-winning braces against VfL Wolfsburg and Bayer Leverkusen in the last two games prior to the winter break. Bayern Munich will be hoping that the prolific marksman will carry on from where he left off in the New Year.

Prediction

Bayern Munich 3-0 1. FSV Mainz 05

Mainz are in a bit of a turmoil, having sacked another manager this season and have turned to Jan Siewert to help arrest the downslide, at least on an interim basis.

However, going up against a Bayern Munich side that has shown great character and resilience to bounce back after going behind in the last few games would be an insurmountable task for them. The Hard Tackle, thus, predicts a straightforward 3-0 win at the Allianz Arena on Sunday.

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