Bayern Munich host Mainz 05 at Allianz Arena as the European and German champions return to Bundesliga action in the early 2021 restart. Hansi Flick's men are two points clear of Bayer Leverkusen and improving in form after recent draws with Werder Bremen, RB Leipzig and Union Berlin.
At Mainz, the club announced sweeping changes to its sporting structure with the returns of Christian Heidel and Martin Schmidt. Die Nullfunfer are on a run of five matches without a win and three of those were defeats but the changes at the top with the possible return of Bo Svensson to join Heidel and Schmidt's revolution could revive the team's fortunes on the pitch in the near future.
Here is how you can watch the match and what to know:
- Date: Sunday, Jan. 3
- Time: 12:00 p.m. ET
- Location: Allianz Arena -- Munich, Germany
- TV: ESPN+
- Live stream: ESPN+
- Odds: Bayern -1000; Draw +850; Mainz +2500 (via William Hill Sportsbook)
Bayern: Unbeaten since September's unexpected 4-1 loss away at TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, Bayern's three draws slowed them down, but they still managed to stay in the lead thanks to their victory away at Leverkusen in the final game of 2020.
Considering Bayern have barely struggled against anybody outside of the top half of the table with the exceptions of Hoffenheim and Werder, a Mainz side with six points all season at home -- where Bayern last lost in the Bundesliga over a year ago -- this should be straightforward.
Mainz: Not the easiest of starts for Mainz but they will be buoyed by the returns of Heidel and Schmidt as the club's identity shifts back to something more in line with the club's traditions and that wave of optimism should survive whatever the result might be at Allianz Arena.
Anything that 05 can take from this fixture will be considered a bonus with homes matches against Eintracht Frankfurt, VfL Wolfsburg and RB Leipzig potentially better sources of points in the battle against relegation. Pierre Kunde Malong will be missing for the best part of the next few months so Heidel and Schmidt will probably be looking to boost Jan Siewart's options although he could be replaced by Liefering's Svensson.
A routine win for Bayern with enough positives for Main to not be disheartened by the task that lies ahead of them between now and the end of the season. Pick: Bayern 3, Mainz 1