On Saturday, Bayern Munich will lift their 25th league trophy in their history and toss beer at each other like they are a state college frat house. That beer may taste a bit sour though with the run they are currently on.
Lucky for them they return home, where Bayern seems to find success no matter what kind of form they are in. They have outscored their opponents 69-10 this season in the Allianz Arena, although they have now lost three of their last seven matches at home.
For a team that has nothing to play for after winning another title despite criticism coming left and right, how refreshing it must be to face a club which only has a Bundesliga television money to play for. Mainz has never won in Allianz Arena, so the odds are in favor of Bayern bookending a season with a victory.
The Match (20th Meeting)
Location: Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany
Head: Thorsten Kinhöfer
FC Bayern: 32 W, 8 D, 8 L – 81 YC, 1 Y/R, 2 RC
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Television and Streaming:
US: GolTV, MyGermanTV +, Fubo TV
Germany: Sky Bundesliga 1 | HD, Sky Go, TeleClub Sport Live
FC Bayern: LWLLL
Mainz 05: WLLWW
Bundesliga: 12 W, 2 D, 3 L
DFB Pokal: 2 W, 0 D, 0 L
Largest Victory: 4-0 (Bundesliga: December 16, 2006, Mainz)
Largest Defeat: 2-3 (Bundesliga: November 27, 2011, Mainz)
Bayern have been around for 115 years, and perhaps never has a team received more criticism for winning a title for this Bayern team. They head into their final match with their DFB-Pokal defense pulled out from under them, their Champions League hopes squashed, and their Bundesliga performance in recent weeks picked apart by everyone who has access to a microphone.
Now they return home, not a place where they have been immune to their struggles, but a place where they tend to put in a heartwarming performance for the crowd. Pep Guardiola does not have the side he started the season with, but finally with a vacant midweek, he can rely on many of the options who have given him everything throughout the entire season.
This also could be a match of farewells, for the futures of Dante, Claudio Pizarro, and Mitchell Weiser all hang in the balance going into the offseason. Guardiola may give one or two of these players a chance to let the crowd celebrate their times here.
Ultimately this is the opening act for the title celebration. The players will put in one last good performance, and they will be able to celebrate no matter the result.
Projected Lineup (4-3-3):
Mario Götze – Robert Lewandowski – Thomas Müller
Thiago Alcantara – Bastian Schweinsteiger – Philipp Lahm
Juan Bernat – Jérôme Boateng – Medhi Benatia – Rafinha
Bench: Tom Starke, Dante, Javi Martínez, Xabi Alonso, Sebastian Rode, Mitchell Weiser, Claudio Pizarro
Out/Suspended: David Alaba (knee), Holger Badstuber (thigh), Pepe Reina (red card), Franck Ribéry (ankle), Arjen Robben (calf)
Mainz was a club who took a step backwards this season, but even if they were not the highly tinkered Tuchel team, they still managed to make a little noise this season. They managed to stay in the obscurity of mid table all season long despite loosing their best attacking player – Erik Maxim Choupo-Moting – and several of their young players took a big step forward.
One of those players, Johannes Geis, will be their key to giving Bayern one last upset before the season is out. Several central midfielders – including Lars Bender, Christoph Kramer, and Maximilian Arnold – have been able to throw Bayern off of their game, and Geis could be the next one that leads the team to a result in the Allianz.
Having an underwhelming season compared to his last, Shinji Okazaki has come on of late, scoring six goals in his last 12 matches. Yunus Malli has helped him a good amount this season in attack, even though he is no substitute for Choupo-Moting. Mainz's defense, while not all that exciting, is still the average defense a mid-table team would want, and their solid structure were nearly able to prevent an in-form Bayern from getting three points.
The only thing they have to play for is Bundesliga prize money, but they could take a strong result to rev up momentum for next season's campaign.
Projected Lineup (4-2-3-1):
Yunus Malli – Jairo – Koo Ja-Cheol
Julian Baumgartlinger – Johannes Geis
Park Joo-Ho – Nicole Noveski – Stefan Bell – Daniel Brosinski
Bench: Stefanos Kapino, Nico Bungert, Júnior Diaz, Christoph Moritz, Sami Allagui, Pablo de Blasis, Christian Clemens
Out/Suspended: Nicolás Castillo (knee), Jonas Hofmann (knee), Damian Roßbach (knee), Elkin Soto (knee), Robin Zentner (knee)
These two clubs tend to make things interesting when they go at it. Mainz has come a way with an early goal in the last few meetings, and with Bayern in its current funk, they could easily sneak an early one Saturday. Bayern have the crowd at their back his time though, and eventually they will be able to spear their way into the Mainz defense. Bayern will cap off another successful Bundesliga campaign, and then enjoy the party with their fans.
The Other Action
Borussia Dortmund vs. SV Werder Bremen (Saturday, 9:30 AM ET)
Borussia Mönchengladbach vs. FC Augsburg (Saturday, 9:30 AM ET)
TSG 1899 Hoffenheim vs. Hertha Berliner SC (Saturday, 9:30 AM ET)
Hannover 96 vs. SC Freiburg (Saturday, 9:30 AM ET)
Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Bayer 04 Leverkusen (Saturday, 9:30 AM ET)
Hamburger SV vs. FC Schalke 04 (Saturday, 9:30 AM ET)
1. FC Köln vs. VfL Wolfsburg (Saturday, 9:30 AM ET)
SC Paderborn 07 vs. VfB Stuttgart (Saturday, 9:30 AM ET)
|Bayer 04 Leverkusen||17||10||6||61||35||+26||61|
|FC Schalke 04||13||9||11||42||38||+4||48|
|SV Werder Bremen||11||10||12||48||62||-14||43|
|TSG 1899 Hoffenheim||11||8||14||47||54||-7||41|
|1. FSV Mainz 05||9||13||11||45||45||0||40|
|1. FC Köln||9||12||12||32||38||-6||39|
|Hertha Berliner SC||9||8||16||35||50||-15||35|
|SC Paderborn 07||7||10||16||30||63||-33||31|