Bayern Munich: Takeaways from emphatic 8-1 win against Mainz

Major takeaways from matchday 25 of the Bundesliga as Bayern Munich hammer eight goals past Mainz at Allianz Arena.

Bayern Munich players celebrating the win against Mainz on Saturday.
Bayern Munich players celebrating the win against Mainz on Saturday. / Alexander Hassenstein/GettyImages
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Following the 3-0 victory against Lazio in the Champions League on Tuesday, Bayern Munich concluded a superb week by scoring eight goals past the struggling Mainz side at Allianz Arena on Saturday. After a relatively competitive first half, Bayern still managed to go into the half-time interval with a healthy 3-1 lead. Rekordmeister tore through the Mainz defense in the second half with five unanswered goals. Let us look at the major takeaways from this emphatic victory.

De Ligt and Dier excelling as center-back pairing

Skeptics can argue that Mainz isn’t the same caliber as either Lazio or Leipzig, but the facts are that Bayern are unbeaten in the five games (4 wins and a draw) this season that Matthijs de Ligt and Eric Dier have started together in the heart of defense.

Though neither player is superior to either Kim or Upamecano in terms of strength and speed, the Dutchman and the Englishman have seemingly developed a good understanding of each other’s strengths and weaknesses that allow them to cover well for one another.

De Ligt’s return to form and confidence along with Dier’s emergence in defense is going to give a good selection headache to the new coach next season if the pair continue to excel together.

Leon Goretzka has got your six

Quite often, throughout the season, both fans and pundits have criticized the performances of Leon Goretzka. There is no disputing that, for large parts of this season, the 29-year-old German international has been disappointing in midfield. However, he is not alone in that position. In reality, the box-to-box midfielder has unjustly been made a scapegoat of sorts for some of Die Roten’s poor performances.

Earlier in the season, Tuchel had marginalized Goretzka with talk of his desire for a new number six and wanting to utilize Joshua Kimmich higher up the pitch. Needless to say, that scenario would have put a dent in Goretzka’s confidence. Despite the difficult circumstances, Goretzka has shown character and remained determined to prove his critics wrong and regain the trust of Tuchel.

Against Lazio, in a game that Tuchel and Bayern couldn’t have afforded to lose, Goretzka seemingly reinvented himself in a role that looked like that of a hybrid between a number six and a left-back. He was excellent in that role. He allowed Aleksandar Pavlovic to positively contribute to Bayern’s cause higher up the pitch while giving left-back Raphael Guerreiro the freedom to supplement the attack to good effect down the left flank. Against Mainz, alongside Konrad Laimer instead of the suspended Pavlovic, Goretzka once again anchored the midfield. Along with dominating the midfield, he also scored twice and set up two of Bayern’s eight goals. In a near-flawless performance, Goretzka was accurate with 93% of his passes (76/82), won three of his five tackles, and made four recoveries (Stats Courtesy: Fotmob).

Attacking players back in form

Harry Kane deservedly won the man-of-the-match award against Mainz. After netting twice against Lazio earlier in the week, the English ace scored a hattrick against Mainz and also played a wonderfully weighted cross to set up Jamal Musiala for Bayern’s fifth goal. Thomas Muller scored Bayern’s fourth goal to kill off the match as a contest just two minutes into the second half. Replacing Muller with Mathys Tel just past the hour mark was a good move to give the young Frenchman much-needed game time.

It was refreshing to see Serge Gnabry scoring a goal after he replaced Leroy Sane in the second half and also to see Bryan Zaragoza get some playing time. The one disappointment in attack was the performance of Leroy Sane. He still is yet to regain the form he displayed during Hinrunde.

Alphonso Davies injury

Apart from missing out on a clean sheet, the injury to Alphonso Davies was the only negative for Bayern on Saturday. Unfortunately for Davies and Bayern, his return to the starting lineup lasted just 14 minutes as he unintentionally received a boot to the face from Mainz defender Silvan Widmer. Raphael Guerreiro replaced Davies after the incident. Thomas Tuchel stated, after the match, that Davies required dental work as a result of the incident. No timeline for recovery was given by the club.

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