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Mainz 1-2 Bayern Munich: Initial reactions and random observations

An important three points for the Bavarians considering Hertha Berlin’s last-minute draw with BVB. Can we claw ourselves back into first?

Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images

Full time: Mainz 1-2 Bayern Munich. It wasn’t a pretty victory, it wasn’t even a good victory, but Bayern got the job done. With Borussia Dortmund dropping points against Hertha Berlin, these three points are literal gold. Here are some quick observations from the match:

  • Thomas Muller had a relatively good game, but was less involved in the second half — perhaps mainly due to Leon Goretzka’s injury.
  • Another blood sacrifice goes to the injury gods. Bayern now have 4 players injured: Coman, Tolisso, Hummels, and Goretzka. Let’s hope it’s not serious.
  • Niklas Sule’s counterattack was one of the most impressive things I’ve seen all season. Shame about the finish, though.
  • Frank Ribery’s sub was necessary, but he really cannot keep up anymore. At best, all you can expect from Ribery at this point is a corner or two.
  • Renato Sanches made mistakes, but the play leading up to the goal redeemed him. I don’t think he was properly warmed up when he came on, so it can be forgiven.
  • Robert Lewandowski with an assist. Good return for the Polish striker.
  • Thiago Alcantara is finally making those late runs into the box like Arturo Vidal used to.
  • Edit: Completely forgot to mention this, but Boateng was great after so much time away from the lineup.

94’ — Yikes! Brosinksi launches a long throw-in into the box and Bayern can’t quite clear it. They concede a corner, but Mainz wastes it with a careless foul.


92’ — Bayern manage to waste more time as Süle draws a foul from Ujah.


90’ — Four minutes of stoppage time will be played. Javi was allowed to remain on the pitch, despite being treated at length. The home crowd is not amused.


88’ — Ujah is carded for elbowing Martinez on an aerial challenge. Martinez is being treated on the pitch. Bayern has already used all three of their substitutes.


86’ — Javi Martinez is carded for time-wasting after needlessly throwing the ball away.


83’ — Substitution: Rafinha replaces Thomas Müller and Maxim comes on for Danny Latza. Rafinha seems to be playing on the right wing.


80’ — What a wild scene: Niklas Süle makes a fast break, catching up to a forward pass from Lewandowski. He runs all the way to Mainz’s goal, but just can’t fire the ball past Florian Müller.


77’ — Out of nowhere, Javi Martinez takes a wicked shot on goal. Florian Müller manages to deflect it into the post with his fingertips.

Müller and Lewandowski break on a counter, but Niakhaté denies Müller Lewy’s cross.


75’ — Ribery runs into space and finds Lewandowski, who attempts to bicycle the ball into the goal. Alas, his shot is blocked, and Sanches’s attempt on the rebound is likewise snuffed out.


71’ — Müller finds Lewandowski yet again in the box. Lewy deftly juggles the ball but is smothered by a trio of Mainz defenders and unable to shoot.


69’ — Substitution: Anthony Ujah and Quaison replace Mateta and Kunde.


67’ — Ribery wins a corner for Bayern. Mateta wins the ball on the counter and is brought down very hard by Ribery. The ref’s whistle remains silent.


62’ — Goal for Bayern! Thiago gets his goal after all! After an energetic Sanches wins the ball, sending it forward, Lewandowski picks it up and launches a fast break. He nutmegs Bell to send a cross skidding in for Thiago, who hammers it into the net.


61’ — Yellow card for Öztunali for a foul on Thiago.


60’ — Sanches is making his presence felt: he sends a cross in for Lewandowski, but it is narrowly saved by Florian Müller.


57’ — Substitution: Now Franck Ribery replaces Gnabry, as Mainz continue to put Bayern under pressure.


55’ — Substitution: Kovac orders Alaba to play the ball out of bounds so Sanches can finally come on the pitch.


54’ — Renato Sanches is warming up and ready to come on as Bayern play with ten men.


50’ — The next headache for Bayern: Goretzka missteps and goes down without contact. He is treated and limps off the field and into the tunnel.


47’ — Goal for Mainz! Incredible: Brosinski has the ball out wide on the right and delivers a cross intended probably for Mateta. He is covered by the centerbacks and the ball flies on to Boethius, who gets a foot on it and shoots it into the goal. Kimmich is caught standing helplessly behind him.


Second half kickoff. And we’re back. Mainz kick off the second half.


Halftime: A strong performance from Bayern Munich so far. Here are some thoughts on the first half:

  • Two dubious offside decisions from the linesman, he’s not had a great game.
  • Thomas Muller has been really good, but unlucky. He could’ve easily had a couple of assists by now, thanks to some defense splitting passes.
  • Leon Goretzka looked rejuvenated after the goal. He was a little anonymous until he scored, but after that it seemed like a switch flipped in his head and he became amazing.
  • Mainz haven’t been that threatening for the Bavarians so far. That could change in the second half.

45’ — One minute of stoppage time to be played.


41’ — Goretzka nearly makes it two! He finds himself again one-on-one with Florian Müller, but this time fires the ball over the goal.


39’ — Goal Bayern! What a sequence: Neuer - Alaba - Kimmich - Goretzka - goal! Kimmich brings down a long pass from Alaba and serves a perfect cross to Goretzka, who puts it in the back of the net.


37’ — Mainz break on the counter and Kunde takes a shot — wide.


36’ — Müller twice delivers very clever balls right into Mainz’s penalty area, but Florian Müller is either just a hair ahead or Müller’s teammates a hair behind.


32’ — Goal disallowed! Mainz’s players protest and the referee goes to VAR. Thiago’s goal is disallowed because of a foul by Lewandowski that preceded it.


31’ — Goal for Bayern! A chaotic scene unfolds in Mainz’s penalty area, as Gnabry catches a wayward header and charges into the box. He dispossesses Mainz’s defender and delivers a pass to Thiago, who scores!


27’ — What a chance! Thomas Müller deftly brings down a high pass into the box right to the feet of Lewandowski. Lewy finds Kimmich inside the area to his right and Kimmich fires a curling, Robbenesque shot into the left corner. It strikes the crossbar and lands squarely on the line, then bounces off the post and out. It doesn’t get closer than that.


25’ — Kimmich attempts to cross the ball in to an isolated Lewandowski, but it flies too close to Florian Müller and is caught.


24’ — Öztunali delivers a dangerous cross into Bayern’s box on a counter. Martinez beats Mainz to the ball, conceding a corner. Gnabry wins the ball on the counter but wastefully sends it over the goal line.


20’ — Alaba delivers a nice, long cross into the box that is nearly picked up by Müller. His namesake Florian Müller just manages to defuse the threat. A very close call.


19’ — Gnabry trips Brosinski and gives Mainz a free kick on their right flank. Nothing comes of it.


17’ — Mainz are packing the box with almost all their field players, but Bayern is still getting opportunities. Their shots have thus far been blocked or over the goal, as with the latest long-range effort by Alaba.


15’ — A little action for Neuer: Mateta manages to deliver a cross from the left flank, but Neuer is on hand to catch the ball fully outstretched.


14’ — A promising attack is nullified by an offside call. Kovac is peeved and has a word or two with the line referee.


12’ — Kimmich takes Bayern’s second corner. Gnabry attempts to shoot on the edge of the box, but he is blocked.

Lewandowski goes down on a foul and is slow to get up.


9’ — Boateng is on hand to receive the ball off a short corner, but his long-range shot is outside.

Mainz has not scored a goal since matchday 3, by the way. Their goal difference is 4:8.


7’ — Martinez is fouled well outside Mainz’s box. Alaba uncharacteristically blasts the ball skyward.


4’ — Neuer dashes out of the box to dispossess Mateta who sniffs a chance at a one-on-one. Not on the sweeper-keeper’s watch, though.


Kickoff: And we’re underway. The ball is rolling.


Shortly before kickoff: Jerome Boateng starts after all: Mats Hummels apparently picked up an injury during warm-up.


One hour before kickoff: Lineups are out! Thomas Muller seems to be on the right wing, while James Rodriguez is given a rest.


Now that the excitement of the Champions League is over, Bayern Munich returns to the day job — a Bundesliga game against 1. FSV Mainz 05. Niko Kovac and his boys will want all three points from this fixture in order to stay inside the top-four and keep up the pressure on Borussia Dortmund at the top of the table.

The big story will be whether Thomas Muller and Jerome Boateng start. Despite being fit, both players have been benched in the past two games, presumably for tactical reasons. Benching them for a third game would be unheard of, but Niko Kovac isn’t known for paying too much respect to his senior players. Franck Ribery on the other hand is almost guaranteed to be in the starting XI, with Arjen Robben being suspended. James Rodriguez has played a lot of minutes in the last few weeks, so the coach might opt to rest him.

It’s Bayern time.


Match Info

Location: Opel Arena, Mainz, Germany

Time: 3:30 pm local time, 9:30 am EST

TV/streaming: Find Your Country

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