With all the cup competitions out of the way, Bayern Munich can finally focus their full attention on losing the Bundesliga. Sorry, was that too harsh? It’s hard to be positive about the club’s direction right now. Eliminations from the Champions League and DFB Pokal have already turned the season into a disappointment, now the only goal is to keep it from being an outright disaster.
Unfortunately, with he way things are going, even Mainz looks like a nigh-insurmountable challenge to Thomas Tuchel’s Bayern.
Officially there are new injuries, though Benjamin Pavard is suspended after getting his fifth yellow card of the season vs Hoffenheim. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting however missed the final training session (via @iMiaSanMia) so it seems like he may be out too.
If Choupo is indeed out — or even if he’s not 100% fit — it’s time for Thomas Tuchel to give Mathys Tel a chance. Tel was the only player to kick the ball in the net from open play during 180 minutes vs Manchester City, so whatever Bayern-specific finishing curse has afflicted our offense seems to have spared him for the moment.
In his press conference, the coach was adamant that Tel’s role was simply to come off the bench for now, but he simply must change his mind. If either Serge Gnabry or Sadio Mane play up top vs Mainz, the fanbase may lose what little faith they had in Tuchel.
Joining the striker will likely be a front three consisting of Leroy Sane, Thomas Muller, and Kingsley Coman, supported by Leon Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich in midfield. The idea of using Joao Cancelo in the middle has been mentioned before, but Tuchel gave no indication that he was seriously considering using the Man City loanee in the middle vs Mainz.
In defense, Alphonso Davies will probably return to the lineup, while Matthijs de Ligt and Dayot Upamecano remain in the center. The question is whether Noussair Mazraoui or Josip Stanisic will finally get a chance at right-back, or will Tuchel ignore them in favor of Cancelo or someone else. After Mazraoui’s public outburst in the media following the Manchester City game, it remains to be seen if the Moroccan will be given a chance to prove himself by the coach.
Yann Sommer, as always, is expected in goal. Here’s what the starting XI could (hopefully) look like:
Interested in a more in-depth preview of the game? Then why not check out our Weekend Warm-up podcast? Chuck talks about Bayern vs Mainz, the striker topic, the team’s recent collapse, and more! Listen to it below or on Spotify.
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