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Back Bayern Munich to win and over 3.5 goals in total.
Julian Nagelsmann’s side are notching goals for fun this season, and Mainz will struggle to keep the score down at the Allianz Arena on Saturday.
The biggest game in German soccer produced the usual outcome last weekend.
Bayern Munich had won eight of their previous nine meetings with Borussia Dortmund going into Saturday’s Der Klassiker.
Once again, they emerged victorious to take control of the Bundesliga title race: the victory for Julian Nagelsmann’s side moved them four points clear of BVB. That is not an insurmountable margin, but odds of -2000 on Bayern winning the league show how difficult it will be for Dortmund to recover from here.
Last weekend’s match between Germany’s big two was a close-run thing.
Dortmund took the lead early on, and the score was 2-2 with just 15 minutes left on the clock. Robert Lewandowski converted from the penalty spot to give Bayern the victory soon after, but Dortmund could legitimately argue they were hard done by. They probably should have had a spot-kick earlier in the match, only for the referee to ignore their pleas to watch the incident again on the pitchside monitor.
On another day, Dortmund could easily have drawn the game. If they had done so, the gap at the top would have stayed at one point.
Yet, it is clear that German soccer has an issue.
Bayern are on course to win their 10th consecutive title. Dortmund, their closest challengers, have a budget that is around 50 percent of Bayern’s. Given their financial advantages, it is hard to see anyone preventing the Bavarians from winning the league any time soon.
That is a shame. Bayern have long been Germany’s biggest and most successful club, but it is only in the last decade that they have completely monopolized the title. We are only in December, and the trophy looks to be on its way to the Allianz Arena once again.
Many would argue that Bayern have earned the right to dominate domestically. Unlike some of Europe’s other major clubs, they are not owned by an oligarch or a head of state. They are well run and make good decisions off the pitch. All that is true, but it is still not healthy for German soccer to be so thoroughly dominated by one club.
Mainz will be the latest team to try and halt the Bayern juggernaut this weekend.
Bo Svensson’s side are one of the toughest to judge in the Bundesliga. They have both lost only one of their last six games and won just three of their previous 10. Mainz were hugely impressive in a 3-0 triumph over Wolfsburg last weekend, but that followed a three-match winless run which included a defeat by relegation-threatened Stuttgart.
Mainz sit seventh in the standings going into the weekend. Their lofty position is built on their defensive strength: Svensson’s side have conceded only 14 goals so far. That is fewer even than Bayern, and the second-best defensive record in the division behind Freiburg.
Yet whether this immovable object will be able to contain the irresistible force that is Bayern’s attack is up for debate.
Mainz’s clean sheet against Wolfsburg was their first in eight matches. They shipped three goals at Dortmund earlier in the season and will have to be at the very best to frustrate Bayern on their own patch. Shut-outs against the likes of Greuther Furth and Hoffenheim do not mean a team will be able to keep the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller, Kingsley Coman, and Leroy Sane quiet.
After beating Dortmund last weekend, Bayern will be keen to press home their advantage before the winter break.
At the very least, Nagelsmann will want to see his side maintain their present four-point advantage. But their lead at the summit of the standings will be even healthier by Christmas if they win their next three games and Dortmund slips up in one or two of theirs.
Bayern are seeking glory on multiple fronts again this season. They were brilliant in the Champions League group stage and will take some stopping once the knockout rounds begin in February.
Bayern will want to wrap up the Bundesliga title as quickly as possible to give themselves the best chance of success in Europe.
Home games against teams like Mainz should be negotiated with a minimum amount of fuss, notwithstanding occasional slip-ups such as the one which saw Eintracht Frankfurt depart the Allianz Arena with all three points at the beginning of October.
Mainz can be a tough nut to crack on their day, and Svensson’s side will grow in confidence if they manage to keep Bayern out in the first 30 minutes. On the other hand, an early goal could open the floodgates. Back Bayern to win and over 3.5 goals in total.
|Bayern Munich vs Mainz Information|
|Teams||Bayern Munich vs Mainz|
|Location||Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany|
|Time||Saturday, 11 December 2021, 9.30 AM EST|
|How to watch||ESPN|
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Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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