After a two-week international break, Bayern Munich will resume the Bundesliga campaign on Saturday. The Bavarian giants enter Saturday’s match against Mainz sitting third in the Bundesliga table, two points off the pace set by a high-flying Bayer Leverkusen.
The match will be extra special for Bayern manager Thomas Tuchel, as Mainz gave the Bayern boss his initial first-team managerial opportunity. Tuchel made the most of his time in Mainz and led the team to the Europa League group stages before departing for Dortmund. Tuchel will now face his former player Bo Svensson in the dugout. The German coach will no doubt be looking for a better result Saturday in Mainz than the 3-1 defeat in April when the two teams last met.
For the first time since before the World Cup, Manuel Neuer is available for selection. Following numerous setbacks, the 37-year-old has been given the green light to return. It remains to be seen if Tuchel feels Neuer is ready to be inserted right away, or does the Bayern manager continue with Sven Ulreich. The German coach confirmed in the press conference on Friday that he will stick with Ulreich to allow Neuer to build rhythm in training.
It wasn’t all good news for Die Roten during the international break, as Noussair Mazraoui suffered a minor injury, which potentially rules him out of the game against Mainz. At the moment, I think Konrad Laimer gets the start at right back. Dayot Upamecano withdrew from the French side during the international break, and it does not look like he will be fit in time to feature on Saturday. Expect a Matthijs de Ligt and Kim Min-jae center-back partnership for Saturday. Alphonso Davies will continue in the left-back position.
With Konrad Laimer getting the start at right back, expect the Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka duo to continue. While Kimmich missed both international games in North America with illness and Goretzka took a knock late in the Mexico game, I am wondering just how much the duo can provide. Similarly, Jamal Musiala was pushed hard by former Bayern Munich manager and new German head coach Julian Nagglesman in the two North American games during the break. I don’t expect him to not start, but with the travel and quick turnaround, I wonder how much the 20-year-old has in the tank.
Leroy Sane showed his blistering form for the national team during the break, and he will no doubt continue to get the opportunity to start for Tuchel’s side on the right. With Serge Gnabry still on the mend from an arm fracture, Kingsley Coman will get the nod on the left. Fresh off leading England to a Euro ’24 qualification, Harry Kane will get undoubtedly lead the line for the visiting side on Saturday.
"Predicted Starting XI Neuer Laimer-Kim-de Ligt-Davies Kimmich-Goretzka Sane-Musiala-Coman Kane"