Created on 22-05-2015 at 15:30 PM
The Bayern stars are set for one last trip to the Allianz Arena and 90 more minutes of football in 2014/15 before the championship celebrations and a well-deserved summer vacation. The home meeting with FSV Mainz 05 on Saturday (Live in English from 15:30 on Twitter and FCB.tv Web Radio) brings to an end a long, exciting and successful season for the Munich giants.
“Outstanding, super,” said coach Pep Guardiola on Friday on being asked for his personal assessment of the last nine months. “I’m very pleased with this season – it was better than the last one. We’ve done very, very well.” The Catalan reminded journalists of the many variables and problems that have dogged the club this term.
Following Germany’s World Cup triumph in Brazil, many observers predicted a tough season for FCB, but Guardiola’s men were unbeaten in the league until the winter break and conceded a paltry four goals before Christmas – this despite a long-running and still not entirely resolved problem with injuries. The Reds last won the title in the season after a World Cup back in 2003, but have only twice sealed the shield at an earlier point in the campaign than in 2015.
End on a high
“Defending the title so comfortably in such difficult circumstances is a magnificent performance by our team and Pep,” enthused chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. “We deserve plenty of beer showers this year,” smiled Guardiola, looking ahead to the imminent celebrations at the stadium and on Marienplatz.
However, there is still football to be played when tenth-placed Mainz come to visit on Saturday. “They’re very aggressive with plenty of quality, they like to attack and they’re very good in midfield,” noted Guardiola. FCB required a last-minute Arjen Robben strike to win the reverse fixture 2-1 last December. “We had plenty of problems in Mainz. They were better than us in that match,” recalled Guardiola.
The Reds intend Saturday to be a different matter. “We want to play convincing football and put on a show for the fans,” said Thomas Müller. “It’s been a long season, we’ve got through a great deal of work and the fans have given us superb support. We want to pay tribute to that and enjoy a great party,” continued Müller. “We’ll go for it again and see if we can manage a minor sporting highlight.”
Guardiola will pick from a squad that has become familiar over recent weeks. Dante is eligible again after serving a one-match ban, but it is too early for David Alaba’s comeback. The Austrian resumed team training this week, “but he’s not match-fit yet,” Guardiola reported. Arjen Robben, Franck Ribéry and Holger Badstuber miss out with injury and Pepe Reina is suspended.
Pre-match news from FSV Mainz
- Unavailable: Jonas Hofmann (sports rehab), Elkin Soto (knee surgery)
- Coach Martin Schmidt: “In their last match in front of their home crowd FC Bayern won’t be in the mood to offer presents. They’ll want to sign off for the summer with a positive experience for their fans. It’s a very special game for us too: we’re testing ourselves against the nation’s most successful club – I don’t believe there can be a better motivation to dig deep one last time at the end of the season.”