Bayern wary of another Mainz slip-up

Bayern Munich travels to Mainz on Friday looking to avoid another costly slip-up which could thwart the champions' bid to reclaim top spot in the Bundesliga.

Mainz stunned Bayern the last time these two teams met.

Bayern Munich travels to Mainz on Friday looking to avoid another costly slip-up which could thwart the champions' bid to reclaim top spot in the Bundesliga.

Mainz stunned Bayern with a late 2-1 victory in Munich in March and another upset is unthinkable, especially after recent defeats to Borussia Dortmund and in the Champions League to Russia's Rostov.

With the winter break looming, victory would propel Bayern provisionally top on goal difference ahead of RB Leipzig, who face a test of its unbeaten record at home against Schalke on Saturday.

The clash in Mainz — the only fixture on Friday — will be preceded by a minute's silence, which will be observed before all Bundesliga games at the weekend, in tribute to the victims of the Colombia plane crash.

Many of the 71 victims were members of Brazilian top-flight team Chapecoense. Mainz's record against Bayern is poor having won only four of the last 20 Bundesliga clashes against the Bavarian giants, the last at home in November 2011.

Mainz president Harald Strutz insisted his mid-table side would not be intimidated.

"I'm convinced that our team is capable of a special performance," said Strutz despite coming off a defeat at Hertha Berlin which leaves them five points off the top six.

"But you cannot talk of a crisis in Bavaria. They will be especially hungry and motivated on Friday."

Bayern got back to winning ways by beating Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 last weekend to end a three-game winless streak and close to within three points of surprise-package Leipzig.

German international defender Jerome Boateng will be back for Bayern after a muscle problem ruled him out of the Leverkusen game.

Coach Carlo Ancelotti can also rely on striker Robert Lewandowski, who missed training this week with a knee problem, but French forward Kingsley Coman and US winger Julian Green are both out.

"Luckily we won last weekend against Leverkusen after the defeats in Dortmund and Rostov. We didn't play too well but the three points were crucial," said Bayern's Spanish winger Juan Bernat.

"We have to improve our game even more at Mainz and cut out the little errors. If we manage that, we'll win. A tough one just because we're playing away from home."

He added: "We shouldn't be too concerned with Leipzig, though, and focus more on our own work."

Leipzig, the only unbeaten side in the Bundesliga along with Hoffenheim, host Schalke at Red Bull Arena on Saturday.

Ralph Hasenhuettl's newcomers beat Freiburg 4-1 last week to stay three points clear of Bayern and have averaged three goals per game in their last five outings.

Schalke however have been gaining momentum after a stuttering start and are now seven games unbeaten with consecutive wins over Bremen, Wolfsburg and Darmstadt.

Hertha Berlin, in third, six points adrift of Leipzig, travel to Wolfsburg.

Cologne and Hoffenheim, fifth and sixth both on 22 points after 12 games, go head to head, while bottom side Hamburg travel to fellow strugglers Darmstadt still looking for their first win of the season.

Fixtures (all times GMT)

Mainz 05 v Bayern Munich (1930)

Saturday (all 1430)

Hoffenheim v Cologne

Borussia Dortmund v Bor. Moenchengladbach

Bayer Leverkusen v SC Freiburg

Wolfsburg v Hertha Berlin

Werder Bremen v Ingolstadt

Leipzig v Schalke 04 (1730)

Sunday

Darmstadt 98 v Hamburg (1430)

Augsburg v Eintracht Frankfurt (1630)

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