Underperforming Bayern Munich head to the Mewa Arena to meet Mainz 05 in the DFB-Pokal round of 16 on Wednesday night.
Mainz launched their DFB-Pokal adventure with a comprehensive 3-0 win at lower-league Erzgebirge Aue and dispatched Lubeck by that exact scoreline in the follow-up to set up this tie.
Despite coming into proceedings as pre-match underdogs, Bo Svensson’s men will be full of confidence after humbling Bochum 5-2 at home last weekend, ending a six-match winless streak in the Bundesliga (D2, L4).
It’s been 17 years since Die Nullfunfer last encountered Bayern in the DFB-Pokal, but they’ll be hoping to give the Bavarians a run for their money as they did in 2006 when they bowed out after extra time.
Julian Nagelsmann’s side have experienced a false start to the new calendar year, drawing all three league matches by an identical 1-1 scoreline despite leading at half-time twice.
Eintracht Frankfurt held the perennial Bundesliga champions winless at the Allianz Arena on Saturday, helping second-placed Union Berlin move within one point of Bayern.
The upcoming DFB-Pokal contest may serve as a welcome distraction for Naglesmann’s side, who are reportedly on the verge of landing Manchester City’s Joao Cancelo on loan until the end of the season.
Mainz have been the epitome of inconsistency at home lately, with their last six Bundesliga outings at the Mewa Arena fluctuating between different outcomes (W2, D2, L2).
But they have surprisingly bettered Bayern in their last two home meetings in the Bundesliga after impressively scoring precisely two first-half goals on both occasions.
Given that they have failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last four home league matches, flying out of the traps may be a necessity if Die Nullfunfer are to defy the odds on Wednesday.
After shockingly failing to make it out of the DFB-Pokal round two across the last two seasons, Bayern have run riot in the competition this term, netting precisely five goals against Augsburg and Viktoria Koln in the opening ties.
With Sadio Mane still on the sidelines with an injury that ruled him out for the Qatar World Cup, Naglesmann’s men have struggled for conviction in the front third in 2023.
A 1-1 draw at RB Leipzig in their 2023 Bundesliga opener, which curtailed Bayern’s high-flying run of six consecutive wins on the road, saw the Bavarians attempt only two shots on target.
Mainz 05 vs Bayern Munich Potential Line-ups
Mainz 05 (3-4-2-1): Finn Dahmen; Andreas Hanche-Olsen, Maxim Leitsch, Alexander Hack; Danny da Costa, Anton Stach, Leandro Barreiro, Dominik Kohr; Angelo Fulgini, Marcus Ingvartsen; Karim Onisiwo.
Bayern Munich (4-2-3-1): Sven Ulreich; Benjamin Pavard, Dayot Upamecano, Matthijs de Ligt, Daley Blind; Marcel Sabitzer, Ryan Gravenberch; Serge Gnabry, Jamal Musiala, Kingsley Coman; Mathys Tel.
Mainz 05 vs Bayern Munich Prediction
Mainz will take the field in high spirits following a rampant home performance at the weekend, which cannot be said about Bayern’s showings since the turn of the year.
We can envisage the Bavarians slipping up here.
Mainz 2-1 Bayern Munich
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