Bayern does not have a poor record against most Bundesliga teams. In recent years, however, Mainz has caused some problems. Last season, Bayern did not register a single win against them in two attempts. Thomas Tuchel, a tactical genius in his own right, has found a formula to trouble Bayern endlessly. Even in this brilliant season, Bayern could not put away Mainz easily.
In the earlier contest at the Allianz Arena, Bayern just could not settle the game. They struck twice, but allowed Mainz into the game via a penalty. Adam Szalai stepped up and converted. The Bavarians kept on pushing forward and ended the contest with a last minute volley from Toni Kroos. The contest at the Coface Arena will surely be harder.
Bayern lost the match at the Coface Arena 3-2 last season. The encounter at the Allianz ended in a subdued 0-0 score line. This was down to the fact that BVB had almost secured the title by then. In 2010-11, Bayern won one match and lost the other. Tuchel's side press continuously, troubling the opposition to no end.
Tuchel has been known to change tactics during matches. His team has started off 2013 well. They drew against Freiburg, then thrashed Greuther Furth. Tuchel will not be able to call on Adam Szalai this weekend, as he is suspended. Eric Chuopo-Moting and Niko Bungert are both out of this one. Elkin Soto and Julian Baumgartlinger are both rated doubtful. Niki Zimling could start in midfield in this one.
For Bayern, Xherdan Shaqiri and Rafinha are definitely out of this one along with long-term injury victim Holger Badstuber. David Alaba has been declared fit. Reports in midweek appeared about a possible injury to Franck Ribery (via ESPN Soccernet). However, Ribery is not rated doubtful ahead of this one. Despite these injuries, the competition for places is currently heating up.
Mario Mandzukic's performance last week might leave Mario Gomez on the bench once more. Bayern was lackluster against Stuttgart. The whole team played deeper than they usually do, and the attack took a lot of time to get going.
Tactically, Bruno Labbadia had set out his team perfectly. However, what he had not counted on was Cristian Molinaro making one of the most awful back passes of this entire season. Mandzukic pounced on the back pass and scored. He set up Thomas Muller wonderfully for the second.
Both Mandzukic and Muller are in competition for the Bundesliga cannon this season. Another person who could get into the race is Nils Petersen. On Friday, Petersen struck twice against Hannover for Bremen to bring himself up to nine league goals this season. His second was a volley of the highest quality. Bayern could decide to bring him back when his loan deal expires instead of selling him.
Anyways, this could be the lineup for this match:
Philipp Lahm- Jerome Boateng- Daniel Van Buyten- David Alaba
Bastian Schweinsteiger- Luiz Gustavo
Thomas Muller- Toni Kroos- Franck Ribery
The energetic Dante is long due a rest, as is Javier Martinez. Muller could do with a rest too; however, he is suited for this match rather than Arjen Robben. Considering that Mandzukic is in great form at the moment, he might continue to start up front.
Prediction: Mainz 1-2 Bayern
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