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Bundesliga Matchday 21
Opel Arena, Mainz
1. FSV Mainz 05
0 : 2
FC Bayern Munich
  • 33' Franck Ribéry
  • 44' James Rodríguez
  • 33' Franck Ribéry
  • 44' James Rodríguez
Question mark over Alaba

Mainz? 'It won't be so easy'

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The sudden return of the German winter was not welcomed by all FC Bayern players this week. “Why so much snow?” was what Rafinha tweeted with a picture of the white pitches at Säbener Straße. However, with the undersoil heating working to perfection and the “army of workers”, as Jupp Heynckes described them, doing a “super job”, Bayern were able to train as normal on Friday ahead of their tough visit to Mainz on Saturday (kick-off at 15:30 CET, coverage available via our live ticker).

“I dont think it’ll be an easy game,” Heynckes stressed, believing that Bayern have a complicated task ahead of them. On one hand because Mainz are a “highly motivated opponent”, who will “demand everything” from Bayern according to the FCB coach, on the other because of the playing conditions. “I watched the game against Stuttgart and the pitch wasn’t in a good condition. It won’t be easy on sich a surface.” However, Heynckes is expecting a good performance from his side: “That’s simply to do with the approach. Nothing more.”

The 72-year-old is convinced that will be the case, though. “We’ve trained hard this week, focusing on a lot of points and with a lot of intensity,” the head coach reported. “I’m really pleased and therefore optimistic.” That was only possible due to the lack of fixture during the week, as Heynckes said, “We’re in a Saturday-to-Saturday rhythm, which means we have time to work on everything.” However, the coach is still looking forward to the intense period coming up with games twice a week: “I trust we’re well equipped for it.”

No Vidal, Wagner fit

There are a couple of question marks over players’ fitness. Arturo Vidal has not been able to train due to a bout of gastroenteritis and will “definitely miss out,” according to the coach. Things look more optimistic for Sandro Wagner, though, who had to miss out on training after turning his ankle but has since come through the final session without a problem. “He’s available for selection.” However, Heynckes is still waiting on the fitness of David Alaba. The Austrian slipped on Thursday and “did some damage to his pelvis,” as the FCB boss explained. “We’ll have to see how he feels today.” In the team’s final session before departing for Mainz, Alaba did in fact take part.

Thiago is also making great progress as he works towards his comeback, including warming up with the team before continuing his own personal programme. “It looks good,” said a pleased Heynckes. “He’s worked really well on his rehabilitation.” The boss is keeping a close eye on “how he feels and how he gets back into things. He won’t come back too early. We’ll discuss with the doctor and the physiotherapists when he’s ready to return.” With things about to hot up in the season, Heynckes knows “We need all our best players fit and ready to go!”