Manuel Veth –
Bayern Munich vs Mainz – Saturday, August 31, 14:30BST/15:30CEST – Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany
One win and one draw is Bayern Munich’s record to start the season. Not ideal but Bayern showed a great reaction to their 2-2 draw against Hertha on matchday 1 by defeating Schalke 3-0 on matchday 2.
Bayern’s positive reaction on matchday 2, however, were overshadowed this week by the Champions League draw and the news that President Uli Hoeneß will not run for his post at the AGM on November 15. Hoeneß informed the board members that he will resign from his role as head of the board after the next AGM during the Champions League draw. The long-standing president will, however, continue to serve as a regular board member for the duration of his appointment until November 2023.
Champions League and off the pitch news, therefore, took centre-stage at the Säbener Straße this week. Hoeneß’s announcement to step down will also have an impact on head coach Niko Kovač. Bayern’s President protected Kovač during the club’s rough patch last season and some sources have even suggested that the power-struggle against CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge on whether to keep Kovač or not was one of the reason’s for Hoeneß to step down from his position.
Ultimately, Hoeneß leaving the central role at the club is bad news for Kovač. The head coach loses his biggest protector at the club and will now have to deliver on the pitch, especially as the club did everything to sing key player Philippe Coutinho.
Kovač, however, is not the only one under pressure. Coutinho’s arrival also means that Thomas Müller will have to fight for his position in the team. “I know what Thomas can do and how important he is for us, on and off the pitch,” Kovač said this week. “Müller is essential for this team. A nice guy and a great football player,” Kovač added. Nonetheless, it looks like that Coutinho will start over Müller on Saturday against Mainz.
Mainz, in the meantime, will face a difficult challenge, off-field noise or not. “It is the most difficult of all games,” Mainz head coach Sandro Schwarz said. Der Karnevalsverein started the season with two defeats and against Bayern is unlikely to improve their record.
That, however, does not mean that the club will simply give up and leave Bayern the three points. Key will be shutting down Robert Lewandowski. “We will have to do that in the collective and shut down the passing channels,” Schwarz said. One thing is for certain only a perfect performance will allow Mainz to gain anything at the Allianz Arena.
Bayern Munich vs Mainz – Players to look out for:
Robert Lewandowski #9 – Bayern Munich
With everything going on this week at Bayern Rober Lewandowski’s contract renewal was almost overlooked. The 31-year-old renewed his contract until 2023. It is a big switch from wanting to leave the club just a year ago. But with Bayern signing the likes of Coutinho Lewandowski believes that the club has done enough to be competitive. “Of course there’s always some luck involved, but we now have a great squad,” Lewandowski said. Lewandowski, however, will be 35 years by the time his contract will be up. “My advantage is that my career started relatively late,” Lewandowski said. The Polish striker has shown no signs of slowing down this season and scored five goals in his first two Bundesliga games.
Adam Szalai #28 – 1.FSV Mainz
Adam Szalai is back in Mainz. The 31-year-old re-joined the club that first gave him a chance in the Bundesliga from Hoffenheim on Thursday. For head coach Schwarz, Szalai could be an option on Saturday. “He is completely fit,” Schwarz said. Szalai scored six goals and five assists in 30 Bundesliga games for Hoffenheim last season. “I always said I wanted to play on the highest level in the Bundesliga as long as possible,” Szalai said. “It only profits me, especially with an eye on the national team, which is very important to me.
Bayern Munich vs Mainz – Match Stats
- For the first time in 12 years, Mainz head into a matchday in the last place. The only team that have not been in the last place longer are Bayern, who were last on matchday 1 of the 1974/75 season.
- The two players that have run the most kilometres this season will meet each other. Bayern’s Joshua Kimmich has run 25.05 km in the first two games and Danny Latza 23.93 km.
- Bayern’s record at home against Mainz: W9 D2 L2.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Bayern Munich vs Mainz – 3-1
Bayern Munich vs Mainz – Lineups
Neuer – Kimmich, Süle, Hernández, Alaba – Thiago, Tolisso, Coutinho – Coman, Lewandowski, Gnabry
Head Coach: Niko Kovač
Müller – Brosinski, Niakhaté, Hack, Aaron – Fernandes, Kunde, Latza – Boetius – Szalai, Quaison
Head Coach: Sandro Schwarz
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others contributes to Forbes.com and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently splits his time between Victoria, BC, and Munich, Germany. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.