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News in brief

Alaba retains Player of the Year accolade

Top of the pops for David Alaba! The FC Bayern pro has been named Footballer of the Year in his native Austria for the fourth year in succession. The 22-year-old was voted into the number one spot in a poll of all ten coaches in Austria’s top flight. “A big thank you to the coaches who voted for me. It’s obviously special for me and I’m very happy to receive it,” said Alaba. This success puts him level with the current record holder Ivica Vastic who has also picked up the award four times. In second and third place behind the injured Alaba were Jonatan Soriano and Kevin Kampl (both RB Salzburg) respectively.

Four wins on the bounce

2-0, 4-1, 3-0, 3-1 - FC Bayern have comfortably won the previous four games against Mainz. The last defeat dates back to November 2011 (a 3-2 loss in Mainz). And the overall record for the Reds ahead of the 17th Bundesliga meeting with Mainz 05 is positive, FC Bayern have five wins, two defeats and one draw at Mainz.

Lewandowski sidelined

Bayern will have to get by without the injured Robert Lewandowski on Friday night. That’s a great shame as the Pole has never lost to Mainz in the Bundesliga (7 wins, 1 draw). Lewandowski netted an impressive six goals in his last four games against Mainz for his former club Borussia Dortmund.

Zwayer the man in the middle

The final Bundesliga fixture for FC Bayern before the winter break will be refereed by Felix Zwayer from Berlin. This is the third time this season the 33-year-old estate agent has been in charge of an FCB game. Zwayer refereed the opening game of the season against Wolfsburg (2-1) and the 0-0 draw at Borussia Mönchengladbach. His assistants are Florian Steuer and Marcel Pelgrim plus the fourth official Thorsten Schriever.