Created on 2020-01-31 at 16:15 PM
FC Bayern travel to face FSV Mainz on Saturday (follow the action from 15.30 CET with our live updates at fcbayern.com), and Hansi Flick's men can claim top spot if they win on Bundesliga Matchday 20.
The reigning champions are only one point short of leaders RB Leipzig, who cross swords with Borussia Mönchengladbach, lying third, in the top match on Saturday evening. Hansi Flick declined to speculate on scenarios: "First we must win our match. If we're in front of Leipzig at the end of the day we'll be happy."
Number-crunching ahead of the match away to Mainz:
Munich boast the best start to a second half of a campaign in Bundesliga history, scoring nine goals and conceding none in their first two matches, an impressive marker in the race for top spot. "It was important to get off to a good start," declared Flick, who is confident his team will continue their run of five straight Bundesliga victories: "We're heading in a good direction, but we also know we must live up to our full potential in every match, every one of us must give it 100 percent in every match."
Mainz have relegation concerns. They are just one point short of the relegation play-off place and have the Bundesliga's weakest defence (44 goals conceded, the same number as Werder Bremen). Mainz got off to a good start to the season but have lost five of their last six Bundesliga matches under new coach Achim Beierlorzer. The roles are clearly defined, according to the 51-year-old: "Bayern are clear favourites, but that's no surprise," said Beierlorzer.
There was good news on the injury front this week, but Flick does not want to rush things. Lucas Hernández might be "available again next week" after recovering from an ankle injury, according to the 54-year-old. Kingsley Coman is working on his comeback. "He's likely to resume the full squad programme next week," said Flick. Javi Martínez (thigh injury) and Niklas Süle (torn cruciate) are still in rehab.
Mainz signed centre-back Jeffrey Bruma on loan from VfL Wolfsburg this week. Beierlorzer declined to reveal whether Bruma would make his debut for the Zerofivers.
Comeback to applause from the squad: Kingsley Coman resumed parts of the squad programme after seven weeks on the sidelines, completing more than half of the session on Thursday.
What the coaches say
Hansi Flick: "Mainz will try to put us under pressure in certain areas of the pitch and to be quick at turnovers. They have very good and quick players in attack, who try to finish straightaway. We must be primed and display our qualities."
Achim Beierlorzer (1. FSV Mainz 05): "Of course we don't want to hand them the victory, that's clear. The players are really looking forward to the match. That's what it's all about: to compete with the best. We see it as an absolute challenge. But if we're honest, if everything goes as expected, if Bayern live up to their potential and we don't play outstandingly well, Bayern will probably win."
Bayern's defence is solid: the German record champions are the only team without a goal conceded in 2020. Keeper Manuel Neuer has gone unbeaten in three matches or exactly 300 Bundesliga minutes. The 33-year-old Bayern captain boasts seven clean sheets so far this season, the most of all Bundesliga keepers.
Recognition from his colleagues: Manuel Neuer stood out with a strong save against Pascal Köpke in the 4-0 victory away to Hertha Berlin.