Mainz 2-1 Bayern – Flick’s title celebrations delayed

On a day that was supposed to crown Bayern Munich as champions of Germany for the ninth straight season, FSV Mainz 05 came out on top to stun the German giants and steer themselves clear of relegation. Perhaps it was the announcement of Flick’s departure, or perhaps the German champions thought they had the match won before it even began. Either way, die Roten came into the match half-asleep, and didn’t wake up in time to become anything more than ineffective in the second half.

Jonathan Burkardt opened the scoring in the third minute, after Jerome Boateng’s woeful header fell right into his path. It was rather fruitful for Burkardt to have the ball fall right into his path, but the 20-year-old’s turn and volley from the top of the eighteen was still a goal of absolute class. Manuel Neuer looked susceptible as the ball came his way, but the power Burkardt put on the shot was ultimately too much for the national treasure to handle. Instead, the striker’s second goal of the season unlocked the national treasure and set Die Nullfünfer on the right track to win the match. Bo Svensson’s team grew in confidence from then on, and came at Bayern with shot after shot, chance after chance in the first half. Neuer made up for his early error as the half wore on, stopping several crucial chances for Mainz to extend their lead. But the threat of a second goal loomed large, despite Neuer’s efforts.

Although Bayern kept all of the possession, Mainz were far and away the better team in the first half, even hitting the post on two seperate occasions. A foul by Jerome Boateng in the 36th minute gave Bo Svensson’s team a crucial chance to double the score, and Mainz capitalized. Left-wing-back Philipp Mwene delivered a delicious ball into the box, and Robert Quaison took the ball on his noggin and buried it into the back of the net. From then on, Bayern Munich had a difficult mountain to climb, particularly with Mainz sitting so deep in a 5-3-2, and later 5-4-1 shape. It took Bayern until the 94th minute to break Svensson’s team down, when Lewandowski found his way free in the box and subsequently found the back of the net. Alexander Hack’s unfortunate error to head the ball backwards to the Polish striker was a small blemish in his excellent performance in the match, and Mainz’s overall fantastic day in front of goal at the other end.

Mainz’s win acts as a reminder that no game in the Bundesliga is a foregone conclusion. Bayern Munich thought they’d won the match and won the league before the first whistle blew, and they will now need to roll up their sleeves and ensure they get the job done next week at home to Monchengladbach instead. For Mainz, the win gave them the chance to leapfrog FC Augsburg into 12th place, extending their stunning six match unbeaten run to seven.

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