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Daily Schmankerl: A prediction for Bayern Munich vs. Mainz; Manchester United prepping a mega-bid for Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho; Timo Werner lit up Borussia Mönchengladbach; After everything, Real Madrid needs Gareth Bale; and MORE!

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It’s GAME DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Schalke 04 v Bayern Munchen - German Bundesliga Photo by Angelo Blankespoor/Soccrates/Getty Images

Bayern vs. Mainz: A prediction (Bavarian Football Works)

There are few dates on the schedule where Bayern Munich should be considered a heavy favorite and this is one of them. The x-factor in this game is who Niko Kovac uses and how that group is aligned. With Philippe Coutinho and Ivan Perisic possibly in line to get a shot in the starting XI, the lineup could really feature anyone aside of Fiete Arp, who is ill.

In reality, the players who are relatively sure bets to be every day starters for Bayern are Robert Lewandowski, Joshua Kimmich, David Alaba, Thiago Alcantara, and Manuel Neuer. Everyone else, it seems, is being evaluated on a game-to-game basis.

Will Kovac opt for a 4-2-3-1, a 4-3-3, or a 3-5-2? There are SO many possibilities. Our guys took a run at reading Kovac’s mind and I think I came away more confused about what I wanted to see than I felt re-assured about how things might look. Either way, Bayern should be able to dominate possession and hammer an over-matched Mainz side, which is a little banged up and pretty mediocre even when at full strength.

If Kovac mixes and matches his pieces, it could take Bayern a bit to get on track, but I think he’ll at least start a lineup that will be able to feed the Polish Hitman for a brace.

Prediction: Bayern Munich 5, Mainz 05 0

United prepping for Sancho bid (Transfer Market Web)

Manchester United is preparing to make a mega-bid for Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho during the winter transfer window:

According to the Evening Standard, Manchester United boss, Ole Gunnar Solsjaer, is more and more determined to have the club bring English international winger Jadon Sancho (19) in, during next winter window, even if it means for Red Devils to invest a 3-figure million euros transfer fee on him. Borussia Dortmund aren’t so far planning to put former Man. City wonderkid up for sale.

Sancho is an integral piece of the Dortmund attack and a move would certainly hurt the squad despite its great depth. Jacob Bruun Larsen and Julian Brandt have not even been used at starters, so BVB does have quality on its bench, but Sancho has proven to be quite special.

ICYMI: Werner is on fire (Bavarian Football Works)

When Timo Werner decided to extend his contract with RB Leipzig there was some discussion that members of Bayern Munich’s front office were not convince of his quality. After three games, however, Werner has five goals, including a hat trick yesterday in RB Leipzig’s 3-1 win over Borussia Mönchengladbach.

Werner often found himself out-wide where he created chaos, but also used his speed and tenacity to also exploit openings in the middle of the field where he did most of his damage. Perhaps Bayern Munich’s stunted interest was just the wake-up call that the 23-year-old needed to re-assert himself.

Interestingly, Werner recently spoke to Sportbuzzer and admitted that one of his role models is Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski:

At 22, 23, he wasn’t as ready as he is now. Robert is a fantastic player, can and has everything. And he always stayed hungry. When he has scored three goals after 85 minutes, he doesn’t go out to get applause. He goes on, wants to make the fourth. This greediness is unique; that’s where I want to go.

Based on yesterday, Werner might be well on his way to that mindset.

No Neymar deal for now (BBC)

The seemingly never-ending Neymar transfer saga hit yet another roadblock as Paris Saint-Germain looks like it has pulled out of a deal with FC Barcelona, despite the two clubs agreeing on a valuation:

Paris St-Germain sporting director Leonardo has said “no agreement” is in place for the transfer of Neymar. BBC Radio 5 Live had reported that officials from PSG and Barcelona met on Tuesday to discuss a possible deal for the 27-year-old Brazil forward. Both parties value Neymar at 200m euros (£182m), with Barca having offered a cash-plus-player deal. After Friday’s 2-0 Ligue 1 win at Metz, Leonardo said PSG had refused an offer as “the conditions didn’t suit us.”

Seriously...this is like the Leroy Sane transfer saga cubed.

Robben swims for charity (@ArjenRobben)

Bayern Munich legend Arjen Robben’s latest charity challenge was an eight-kilometer (five mile) swim.

ICYMI: Bavarian Podcast Works is back! (Bavarian Football Works)

Jake and Tom brought the podcast back this week, so give it a listen as part of your pregame routine (especially if you want to hear me get roasted).

Zidane facing his worst nightmare: having to play Bale (The Sun)

Real Madrid is banged up in a bad way. So bad, in fact, that Los Blancos boss Zinedine Zidane will likely be forced to play Gareth Bale:

Gareth Bale has the chance to establish himself as first-choice at Real Madrid with Zinedine Zidane losing SIX attackers to injuries. James Rodriguez and Isco are the latest players to pick up problems after playing in last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Valladolid.

Marco Asensio was cruelly ruled out until March with a cruciate ligament rupture last month. While youngsters Rodrygo and Brahim Diaz are both suffering from hamstring injuries. There’s been little respite for new signing Eden Hazard either, with the former Chelsea star also in the wars with his hamstring. That leaves just Bale, Vinicius Junior and Lucas Vazquez as Zidane’s options behind the striker.

James is hurt? Shocker! Anyway, it seems like neither James nor Bale will be going anywhere during this transfer window.