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Bayern struggle to break down Mainz, salvage a 2-2 draw

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This is what a hangover looks like

Bayern Munich's striker Thomas Mueller reacts during the German First division Bundesliga football match between FC Bayern Munich and Mainz 05 in Munich, Germany, on April 22, 2017. (Photo credit should read CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images)
Bayern Munich's striker Thomas Mueller reacts during the German First division Bundesliga football match between FC Bayern Munich and Mainz 05 in Munich, Germany, on April 22, 2017. (Photo credit should read CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images)
(Photo credit should read CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images)

This was supposed to be one of the easier remaining matches in Bayern’s schedule, facing off at home against relegation-threatened Mainz 05, but the plucky visitors took advantage of a lethargic FC Bayern to steal away a valuable point.

Not much rotation

Considering the big game coming up on Wednesday in the DFB-Pokal semifinal against Borussia Dortmund, and the comfortable lead FCB is enjoying in the Bundesliga, Carlo Ancelotti surprised many by not really rotating much. As expected, Sven Ulreich replaced Manuel Neuer, who is done for the season, and Jerome Boateng and Javi Martinez were given the weekend off to deal with niggling injuries. However, the Italian coach rolled out a veteran-heavy lineup, opting not to give youngsters like Kingsley Coman, Renato Sanches and Joshua Kimmich their turn.

A very slow Bayern start

After the heartbreaking loss in the Champions League in Madrid, you could have expected a bit of a hangover from the reigning German champions, and that is exactly what Mainz took advantage of. A turnover at the top of the box in the third minute by Arturo Vidal allowed Stoke City loanee Bojan Krkic in alone on Ulreich, slotting the ball between the keeper’s legs for a surprising early lead.

A strong press up the field from Martin Schmidt’s men seemed to uncharacteristically rattle the Reds, and they couldn’t have complained if they had gone down by another goal, as Germany legend Uwe Seeler’s grandson Levin Öztunali popped up in front of Ulreich, forcing the goalie into an excellent reaction save.

Bayern assert themselves to take control

On the ensuing play, the hosts leveled the score on some pretty counter attacking, with a quick set of through passes from Mats Hummels to Thomas Müller — captaining the team for the first time in his career in an official game — to Franck Ribery and finally to Arjen Robben, who placed the shot just inside the right goalpost.

Now Bayern controlled the game, producing some quality scoring chances through Müller. A through ball in the 18th minute found the captain in the box, but his cross was behind Robert Lewandowski. Another chance by number 25 in the 33rd minute on another counter attack ended with a shot that just went wide left.

Mainz takes the lead again

Against the run of play, the guests were handed a penalty kick on a late kick to a shin by Joshua Kimmich — who had replaced a limping David Alaba in the 17th minute — and Daniel Brosinski was able to score, even though Ulreich guessed right and still got a hand on the shot. Bayern would go into half time down 1-2.

The rest of the game was all Bayern

Possession was the name of the game for the second half, with Mainz no longer able to break out to relieve the defense. Ancelotti brought on Kingsley Coman for Ribery, whether for a spark, or to rest Franck for the midweek game, and Coman brought a breath of fresh air. However, all that possession really didn’t translate into many quality chances. The young Frenchman had a rocket of a shot saved by Mainz’ Huth, but most of the opportunities didn’t really force too many saves out of the Mainz keeper.

Thiago to the rescue

It took a moment of individual brilliance to finally equalize. Robben found Thiago at the top of the box, and the Spaniard pushed the ball past a couple of defenders and slotted the ball flat into the far corner to tie up the game again.

Other than a couple of appeals for a penalty kick by Lewandowski — the second one appeared to have some merit, as the defender clearly kicked the Polish striker’s foot while completely missing the ball, but the referee let play continue — Bayern didn’t threaten the opposing goal significantly.

One point at home, and one eye on Dortmund

A flurry of half chances at the end for Bayern didn’t change the score, as they had to be content with a single point at home, appearing to deal with a CL hangover, while looking ahead to the big clash with their domestic rivals, Dortmund in the DFB Pokal on Wednesday.

Match Details

Goals: FC Bayern Munich 2-2 FSV Mainz 05
Bayern: Robben (16’), Thiago (73’)
Mainz: Bojan (3’), Brosinski (40’, PK)

Yellow Cards:
Bayern: Rafinha (43')
Mainz: Onisiwo (89’)

Bayern XI: Ulreich - Rafinha, Hummels, Alaba (17, Kimmich), Bernat - Thiago, Vidal (65, Alonso) - Robben, Müller, Ribéry (46, Coman) - Lewandowski

Mainz XI: Huth - Donati, Bell, Hack, Brosinski (52’ Balogun) - Öztunali, Frei, Latza, Quaison (78’ Ramalho) - Muto, Bojan (68’ Onisiwo)