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'Keep the momentum going'

FC Bayern 'fired up' for starting into 2021 against Mainz

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FC Bayern are making an early start to the footballing year with the Bundesliga home match against 1. FSV Mainz 05 on Sunday evening (live text and Webradio commentary from 18:30 CET on Hansi Flick's team had a few days off around Christmas, but there wasn't a lot of time to recharge their batteries during the two-week break: "The break was very good for us. Of course we had to continue training, we had our training schedule," explained captain Manuel Neuer, who, like his teammates, is already keen to start playing football again: "We're looking forward to the first task against Mainz," said the FIFA Best Men's Goalkeeper award winner.

The situation for FC Bayern

The 2-1 win in the top-of-the-table clash at Bayer 04 Leverkusen on Matchday 13 meant that Bayern spent the short winter break as league leaders.

The men from Munich completed the final straight of a long and energy-sapping 2020 in mid-December with a win in the top-of-the-table clash at Bayer 04 Leverkusen (2-1), thus regaining top spot in the Bundesliga and extending their winning run to an impressive 19 competitive matches without defeat. "The fact is that we're permanently in the groove," revealed Neuer, who now wants to build on the outstanding performances with his teammates in 2021: "and of course we want to keep that momentum going," the Germany keeper continued. His coach was also impressed by this attitude in recent days and noticed "a lot of joy" and "real quality" in training. "Even though the break was short, it was important," the 55-year-old added: "The team aim to get off to a good start in 2021 and we're looking forward to the upcoming tasks."

Check out here where FCB's direct rivals are in action on Matchday 14:

The opponents:1. FSV Mainz 05

At the turn of the year, second-bottom Mainz took the decision to make some personnel changes with new but familiar faces: youth coach Jan Siewert has been promoted to interim coach, Christian Heidel returns in the role of board member for sport four years after his departure from the 'Zerofivers', and former coach Martin Schmidt is the new sporting director. After five games without a win (two draws, three defeats) and the worst Bundesliga season in the club's history to date (six points after 13 games), the aim is to reverse the trend and avoid the drop. Thomas Müller, however, sees "no reason at all" to underestimate FSV despite the sporting slump: "At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter to us what the situation is with our opponents - rather, we have to concern ourselves with putting in a good performance on the pitch, and that's the be-all and end-all," stressed the 31-year-old.

Team news, tactics and more: You can watch Hansi Flick's pre-match press conference before the match against Mainz (with English translation) here:

Team news for Bayern vs. Mainz

Flick will be without forward Kingsley Coman against Mainz, who is currently only training individually after taking a knock in his left thigh in the Leverkusen game. In addition, Marc Roca has, according to the head coach, "a few muscular problems and won't be included". Tanguy Nianzou (torn muscle in his right thigh) is also not yet an option. "Otherwise, the squad is pretty much complete, so we can draw from almost unlimited resources" explained the master tactician. So the recently injured Bouna Sarr, Javi Martínez (following a muscle injury in his left thigh) and Leon Goretzka (after muscular problems) are all available again. In addition, new signing Tiago Dantas has been eligible to play in the Bundesliga since the beginning of the year and is with immediate effect a contender for a place in the squad.

For Mainz, Pierre Kunde Malong, meanwhile, will be out for a longer period of time following knee surgery, and Levin Öztunali is still only able to train individually after a muscle strain. In addition, youngsters Niklas Tauer (muscle injury) and Paul Nebel (foot injury) are not fit to play.

Check out the best images from Bayern's final training session ahead of the match:

What the coaches say

Hansi Flick: "It's difficult to predict how they'll play. We've analysed the opposition, but we don't yet know exactly what Jan Siewert, who I know from the DFB, [German Football Association] will come up with. Normally, in a situation like that, where you have nothing to lose, you can prescribe a tactical set-up where you put the opposition under pressure. That's what he's already hinted at. We're prepared, it's all about how we get into the game. But we're more concerned with ourselves. Of course we have the necessary respect, but at the end of the day it's about how we go about the game."

Jan Siewert (Interim coach 1. FSV Mainz 05): "We need to try and get forward with confidence. The more you defend aggressively, the more chances you have in front of goal. And we have a chance. But we know there are different phases when you play Bayern. There will be phases in which you only have to defend - and do so consistently. But there will also be phases when there are opportunities that we want to take advantage of. That's how we want to approach it."

If you want to know more ahead of the game, check out our facts and stats