FC Bayern were held to a 2-2 draw by FSV Mainz in Saturday afternoon's Bundesliga clash at the Allianz Arena. Bojan put the visitors ahead after two minutes, but Arjen Robben levelled the scores on the quarter-hour. Daniel Brosinski handed Mainz the lead from the spot shortly before half-time, Thiago replying with 20 minutes to go. The Bavarians pressed relentlessly throughout the second half, but a winning third goal refused to come.
The hosts started with Sven Ulreich in goal and Rafinha, Mats Hummels, David Alaba and Juan Bernat in a back four. Arturo Vidal and Thiago featured in twin holding roles behind Thomas Müller, who captained the Bavarians for the first time, flanked by Robben and Franck Ribéry, with Robert Lewandowski as an orthodox centre-forward.
Carlo Ancelotti made four changes to the team that crossed swords with Real Madrid on Tuesday. Ulreich replaced the injured Manuel Neuer between the sticks, with Rafinha, Bernat and Müller taking over from Philipp Lahm, Jérôme Boateng and Xabi Alonso. The Bavarians were already struggling with a lengthy injury roster especially in their rearguard, and more bad news came for Ancelotti early in the first half, when Alaba had to give way to Joshua Kimmich after sustaining a thigh injury. Kingsley Coman replaced Ribéry at half-time, with Alonso taking over from Vidal midway through the second half.
The 75,000 capacity crowd at the Allianz Arena saw the away side spring a surprise, attacking early and shining with crisp passing. The afternoon began with a shock for Bayern, Vidal gifting possession to the visitors, and Bojan's effort meant one of Ulreich's first actions was to pick the ball from the back of his net. Both sides were attacking now, Mainz centre-back Stefan Bell heading away a dangerous Bernat cross before Mesut Öztunali drew a strong save from Ulreich.
Hummels shone when he gained possession near the Bayern box on the quarter-hour. Three passes and 70 yards later Arjen Robben crashed the ball from a tight angle into the far corner of the net, levelling the scores. Bayern went onto the front foot now but failed to deliver the final pass. The course of the game shifted again after the half-hour as Mainz upped the pressure. Martin Schmidt's troops were awarded a penalty after Kimmich's foot touched Muto in the box, Brosinski netting the spot-kick via Ulreich's fingertips. By that time Lewandowski had already seen a decent shout for a penalty waved away by Frank Willenborg, and when the match official blew for half-time Bayern had seen more than 70 percent of the ball, but Mainz had the lead.
Thiago rescues valuable point
The German record champions utterly dominated proceedings after the restart, camping out in the away side's half. Again it was a story of half-chances for Bayern at first, but their relentless pressure paid off when Thiago hammered a 20-yarder into the bottom left corner of the net with 20 minutes to go. The Reds pressed, their superior fitness beginning to tell, and Lewandowski soon was felled in the Mainz box again, but Willenborg waved play on. The men in red found no way through the barrier the visitors formed in and around their box, and Alonso miscued a header before Willenborg blew for full time.
The result means Bayern have 70 points from 30 matches, nine clear of RB Leipzig overnight. The Bavarians are back in action on Wednesday evening, when they entertain Borussia Dortmund in the DFB Cup last four before travelling to face Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga next Saturday.
Live match report for fcbayern.com by Greg Salmen
FC Bayern - FSV Mainz 05 2-2 (H-T: 1-2)
Ulreich - Rafinha, Hummels, Alaba (Kimmich 17), Bernat - Thiago, Vidal (Alonso 65) - Robben, Müller, Ribéry (Coman 46) - Lewandowski
Starke, Lahm, Alonso, Sanches, Costa
|FSV Mainz 05||
Huth - Donati, Bell, Hack, Brosinski (Balogun 52) - Öztunali, Frei, Latza, Quaison (Ramalho 79) - Muto, Bojan (Onisiwo 68)
Lössl, De Blasis, Seydel, Serdar
Frank Willenborg (Osnabrück)
|Goals||0-1 Bojan (3), 1-1 Robben (16), 1-2 Brosinski (40, pen), 2-2 Thiago (73)|
Rafinha / Owisino