Out-of-sorts Bayern Munich will look to put their midweek UEFA Champions League exit disappointment behind them when they resume their Bundesliga title charge at the MEWA Arena against Mainz on Saturday.

Bayern Munich’s players and coach Thomas Tuchel have little time to dwell on Wednesday’s frustrating Champions League defeat to Manchester City, with the Bundesliga the only title still up for grabs and in-form Mainz could pose the latest banana skin for a troubled Bayern Munich side this weekend.

Unceremoniously ousted from Europe following a 4-1 aggregate loss, Tuchel is dealing with his first tricky spell since taking over from Julian Nagelsmann with just one win from their last five games across all competitions. The reigning Bundesliga champions hold a narrow two-point lead at the summit of the German top flight and will look to consolidate it with a win this Saturday.

The Bavarians come into this game off the back of a surprisingly poor run of form, having won only two of their last seven matches. Mainz, on the other hand, have enjoyed a strong run of results and are unbeaten in their last nine league games (W5 D4). They have been particularly impressive at home, remaining unbeaten in their last six home league games and enjoying four wins during that stretch.

However, they could only pick up a point against mid-table Koln last time out, where winter signing Ludovic Ajorque opened the scoring. Regardless, their excellent form under boss Bo Svensson has lifted them up to eighth going into the visit of Bayern, leaving Mainz with just two points to make up to the European places.

Riding on hot momentum, the confident-looking Die Nullfünfer outfit are sure to make this a tough day at the office for Thomas Tuchel´s side. Goals should be expected in this game, especially if recent history is anything to go by.

The last five meetings between the two had a combined tally of 22 goals, while the reverse fixture ended in a 0-4 thrashing for the visitors. A similar result here would be a big morale booster for the Bavarians.

Team News & Tactics

1. FSV Mainz05

Jonathan Burkardt is expected to remain sidelined with a knee injury. Besides Burkardt’s injury, Bo Svensson has a fully-fit deck to pick his starting XI from and is expected to retain a settled starting XI, with Die Nullfünfer enjoying a superb unbeaten run.

Mainz will line up in their usual 3-4-2-1 formation, aiming to keep a lid on Bayern Munich’s offensive talent throughout the game. Robin Zentner will line up in goal for the hosts.

Andreas Hanche-Olsen produced another strong defensive display for Mainz in the club’s 1-1 draw at Cologne last weekend and will need to be at his best again alongside other back-three members Stefan Bell, and Edimilson Fernandes to keep Bayern Munich shackled on Saturday.

Silvan Widmer and Anthony Caci will be the two wing-backs for Mainz, with the duo providing the width in the final third. Captain Widmer, for one, has contributed with an assist in each of his last two outings, indicating that the Swiss wing-back is regaining form after enduring a slump.

Leandro Barreiro and Dominik Kohr will form a defensively resolute central midfield duo, with Kohr also in charge of providing the forward thrust from the middle of the park.

Ludovic Ajorque has netted in three Bundesliga matches in a row and has bagged five goals so far since arriving at the club in the past winter transfer window. He should continue to lead the attack, with Karim Onisiwo and Anton Stach in support.

Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Zentner; Fernandes, Bell, Hanche-Olsen; Widmer, Barreiro, Kohr, Caci; Stach, Onisiwo; Ajorque

Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich boss Thomas Tuchel welcomed Sadio Mane back into the matchday squad against Manchester City as he came on as a second-half substitute after the Senegalese forward sat out their draw against Hoffenheim due to disciplinary reasons.

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting started in the same match after returning from injury and may do so again here, but long-term absentees Manuel Neuer and Lucas Hernandez remain sidelined due to their respective injuries.

Yann Sommer is expected to continue between the sticks in Neuer’s absence, with Bayern lining up in a classic 4-2-3-1 formation in front of him. Joao Cancelo, Benjamin Pavard, Matthijs de Ligt, and Alphonso Davies will form the back four. Dayot Upamecano, who put on error-strewn displays over both legs against Manchester City, could be dropped here.

As ever, Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka will once again take charge as the double pivot. The duo did a fine job dominating Manchester City’s midfield in the second leg and will have slightly more leeway to maraud forwards here.

Bayern have excellent attacking talent in the likes of Kingsley Coman, Jamal Musiala, Leroy Sane, Sadio Mane, Mathys Tel, and a revitalised Choupo-Moting. But none of them were able to provide the goods in the final third against City despite the team creating numerous good scoring opportunities. Another misfiring performance here, and they could be in trouble in the Bundesliga as well.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Sommer; Cancelo, Pavard, de Ligt, Davies; Kimmich, Goretzka; Coman, Musiala, Sane; Choupo-Moting

Key Stats

  • Bayern Munich have accumulated just 59 points from their 28 games in the Bundesliga so far this season, their worst record since the 2010/11 season.
  • Mainz have won their last two matches at home against Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga, as many victories as they had achieved in the 14 such games prior to that run.
  • Mainz are nine matches without a defeat, which is the longest undefeated run in the Bundesliga currently and the joint-longest in club history within a single season.
  • Mainz have collected 22 points during the second half of the season; only Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have a better record in the Bundesliga during this period.
  • Mainz striker Ludovic Ajorque has scored in three consecutive Bundesliga matches.

Player to Watch

Kingsley Coman

Embed from Getty Images

While most Bayern Munich attackers largely underwhelmed against Manchester City, the France international was the main instigator and a real livewire over both legs of the Champions League quarter-final tie, creating a number of good threatening moments in attack for the hosts, but Bayern’s lack of end-product let him down.

With Sadio Mane and Leroy Sane’s bust-up potentially a bit too fresh to see both starting, the 26-year-old could prove key to Thomas Tuchel ending the campaign on a high by edging Borussia Dortmund to the league title.


1.FSV Mainz 05 1-2 Bayern Munich

Mainz are certainly not the ones to be taken lightly, having gone nine games unbeaten in the Bundesliga, the longest streak of any team now, to climb to eighth and contend for a European spot. While the two previous meetings between these two sides have both resulted in a Mainz thrashing, this could be a much more tightly contested affair given the hosts’ fine form.

Nonetheless, Bayern Munich will still be considered the favourites to win, and they should have too much class in the final third to outscore their opponents at the MEWA Arena. The Hard Tackle predicts a 2-1 win for Thomas Tuchel and his charges.

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