Let's get one thing straight: Bayern deserved to lose to Mainz. There is simply no other way to put it. Bayern was pathetic in both defence and attack. Conceding three goals against the team that was struggling in the Bundesliga prior to Saturday is no excuse.
There is no doubt about the fact that Mainz plays in the same style as Borussia Dortmund. Bayern knew this, Jupp Heynckes knew this and yet they didn't prepare properly for it. They scored two goals from set pieces but otherwise did not create too many chances. Thomas Mueller in particular was wasteful in possession. Mueller's form isn't good these days. To see such an amazing player be so wasteful was painful to say the least.
Daniel Van Buyten scored both of Bayern's goals. His colleagues at the other end let him down; Manuel Neuer can be blamed for one of the goals at least. He shouldn't get beaten from long range as he did on Saturday. Nonetheless, Neuer rarely makes mistakes and it was one of those strange days when he showed that even he can be beaten from a large distance.
This loss cannot simply be attributed to Bastian Schweinsteiger's injury. Mainz had three weeks to prepare due to the cancellation of their match against Koeln thanks to Babak Rafati's suicide attempt. Bayern had about five days. Arjen Robben couldn't feature as he tweaked something in his warm-up.
What this match showed again is that the only way to beat Bayern is to press and press and press them into losing the ball over 80 minutes and hold out the onslaught in the last 10 minutes. I believe Heynckes, who currently has the flu, has enough football nous to be able to solve this problem.
Bayern is as a result down to third in the table, a point behind both Borussia Dortmund and Monchengladbach. Dortmund and Gladbach next play each other and thus, with a win over Bremen, Bayern will, at least, end up second in the table. They can get hold of top spot again if the Borussias play to a draw.
The match against Bremen will be an easier one for Bayern. As good as Bremen are, they don't play in the style of either Gladbach, Mainz or Dortmund. They lost 3-1 to Bayern in the last meeting between these two sides. Games against Bremen are usually really open and fun to watch. Bayern has lost both their previous Bundesliga matches.
Bremen is fourth in the table and as a result will be motivated to win this one. They have a few concerns to deal with. Tim Wiese's father unfortunately passed away recently. Wiese will thus be unavailable for this match. Sebastian Mielitz will start. Mielitz is a good keeper and usually, standing-in keepers tend to produce unimaginably good performances against Bayern. Claudio Pizarro, their talisman, is injured and might not be fit for the match.
For Bayern, everyone as well as Robben is good to go. Anatoliy Tymoschchuk is still suspended. Bayern has a meaningless Champions League match in midweek. Heynckes won't be too concerned about that if he can get out of bed that is. Hermann Gerland is currently supervising training.
The FIFA nominations for World XI came out recently. Neuer, Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mario Gomez were nominated.
That's all for now. Top spot is awaiting...if the Borussias are willing to give it to us.
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