Bayern Munich will aim to ring in another Bundesliga title triumph by ending a dreadful run of form when they face Mainz in the final game of the season on Saturday.
With Pep Guardiola’s men missing out on the DFB-Pokal and UEFA Champions League finals, all that is left for the Bavarians is to celebrate another season of dominance in the league.
The Bundesliga trophy will be awarded to Bayern after the match at the Allianz Arena, but the first priority for Guardiola and his players will be to end the campaign by claiming a first league win in almost a month.
Having tasted defeat in five of their last six games in all competitions, Bayern have been stumbling to the end of the campaign rather than finishing with a flourish.
Indeed, an injury-hit Bayern have been exposed defensively in recent times, with Borussia Dortmund knocking them out of the Pokal on penalties and Barcelona winning 5-3 on aggregate in the Champions League semi-finals.
But, with 10th-placed Mainz also having little to play in the finale, Bayern should be confident of getting back to winning ways in front of what is sure to be a jubilant home crowd.
Mainz are winless in their last six meetings with Bayern and have not tasted victory at the Allianz Arena since a 2-1 win back in September 2010.
However, Mainz coach Martin Schmidt says his side are relishing the challenge of potentially spoiling Bayern’s title party.
“The Munich game has always hung like a haze over us,” Schmidt told Mainz’s official website.
“The TV money [earned from finishing higher in the league] plays no role in the motivation for the players. The challenge, which is purely sporting, will be big enough.”
Bayern go into the game with a host of key players on the sidelines. Franck Ribery (ankle), Arjen Robben (calf) and Holger Badstuber (thigh) are all unavailable for the hosts due to long-term injuries.
Goalkeeper Pepe Reina is suspended, while David Alaba – out since March with knee ligament problems – is likely to miss out despite taking part in an extra fitness session earlier this week.
Preparation for the contest has not been ideal with Bayern, with footage emerging of Jerome Boateng and Robert Lewandowski becoming embroiled in a row in training.
Yet Bayern will be hoping the team can put that spat behind them and perform in complete harmony to deliver a display fitting of a celebration of the club’s 25th German league title.
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