Bayern Munich drop crucial points in the Bundesliga title race against a Mainz side hunting down a spot in Europe with a 3-1 defeat. Thomas Tuchel’s side began the game with a confidence that had been significantly diminished in recent weeks.
Sadio Mané would have an early goal ruled out for offside before tapping in from Joao Cancelo’s cross on the half hour mark. However, after taking the lead they would crumble in extradordianry fashion. Ludovic Ajorque would tie the game as he reacted quickly to a loose ball and headed home to put doubt in the minds of the Bayern players. He would then be crucial in the build-up play as his header would find Karim Onisiwo. The Austrain would then play through Leandro Barreiro, who would place the ball past Yann Sommer and stun the visitors.
With Bayern hunting down a leveller, Aarón Martin would wrap up all three points with a spectacular effort across the face of goal in what could prove to be a the significant turning point in the race for the Bundesliga title.
Bayern Munich face their biggest summer rebuild
Bayern Munich return to Bavaria with one of their most helpless performances so far this season, and those associated with the club will feel as though this was the day the title slipped away. With their recent star performer in Kingsley Coman left on the bench, many would have been wondering where the inspiration would have come from. While Jamal Musiala proved his undeniable quality, those around him once again wilted away as Bayern crumbled away from home.
Joao Cancelo and Sadio Mané would link up to open the scoring, however, it is all but confirmed that they will be departing the Allianz Arena in the summer. This means that replacements will need to be discovered in crucial attacking positions, as well as finally finding a solution to the significant loss that was Robert Lewandowski.
Nevertheless, if the problems in their attack looked worrying, the issues that lie in their back line will be of paramount concern. Dayot Upamecano was bullied all game by Ludovic Ajorque, and when considering his inconsistencies this season how long he remains a key part of this side will be up for debate. However, he has proven to be far to unreliable, and while Matthijs de Ligt has shown more quality than his partner, neither have the characteristics to command a Bayern Munich backline.
The way this side have performed in recent weeks is the opposite of what one would expect from Die Rekordmeister and a return to the characteristics of what made them so feared is required in the summer. The Bayern DNA is nowhere to be seen and that is what will frustrate the fans the most. The title will still be in their hands regardless of the Borussia Dortmund result, however, changes need to happen otherwise the title will not return next year.
Mainz proved their quality
Mainz shocked Die Rekordmeister by coming from behind to win 3-1, but their performance is what will turn the heads of their league rivals. Since the turn of the Rückrunde, Mainz have been in phenomenal form which has seen them ascend up the table. The Carnival Club would even be sitting third in the league if the campaign had began from matchday 18. While their fine form can be dated back to the appointment of Bo Svensson in January 2021, the signing of Ludovic Ajorque has changed the dynamic of the side this season. Before his arrival from Strasbourg, Mainz were peering over their shoulder and in fear of sleepwalking into a relegation battle.
However, his six goal contributions have added an extra threat in their front line, while his hold up play has allowed the players around him to express themselves. Karim Onisiwo and Lee Jae-Sung have benefited significantly playing alongside the the French target man, and this has been reflected in their recent results. The 25 goals scored in their last twelve games have seen them become a real threat in the Bundesliga, and they would impose themselves on Bayern throughout the 90 minutes.
The record champions looked shaky and vulnerable, while the neither Upamecano or de Ligt looked confident defending Ajorque all game. Then just past the hour mark it would be Ajorque finding himself unmarked to head home from close range to punish another underwhelming Bayern performance. He would play his part in the second too, before Aarón wrapped up the three points. However, is is Ajorque that has changed the fortunes of this side and Mainz will look to build on the momentum they have gathered since January.
Jamal Musiala is Bayern’s shining light
The performances of Kingsley Coman so far this campaign has seen him become one of if not the most important attacking outlet Bayern possess. However, with his injury record, he is not a player Bayern can rely upon. A disastrous performance from Bayern has left them in a vulnerable position in the race for the Meisterschale, nevertheless, Jamal Musiala is the player they will look at for inspiration for the remainder of the season. He was able to record a 94% pass rate in the 80 minutes he was on the pitch, while completing six dribbles which in both stats reflected the best in the Bayern side.
But he cut a frustrated figure out on the pitch and at the age of 20 the expectation placed on his shoulders is remarkable. However, he consistently performs for Thomas Tuchel’s side and the quality around him is not at the level it should be. He has struggled in front of goal since the World Cup, and an argument can be made for his output requiring improvement. With just one shot against Mainz, Musiala will want to find himself in front of goal more often.
Regardless, the performance from this game proved why he is the future of this side, and while those around him continue to underperform he was the only shining light in a dismal display.
GGFN | Will Shopland