Bayern appeard not have fully recovered from their Champions League ouster as they flopped at home to relegation-battled Mainz on Saturday to give away a valuable point that would have been enough to have an easy ride to their sixth consecutive Bundesliga title.
However, the plucky visitors took advantage of a lethargic FC Bayern to steal away a great point that gives them an ease for their struggle off drop.
Bayern were midweek eliminated from the Champions League no thanks to controversial first and second leg defeats to reigning European champions Real Madrid with Los Blancos going to the semis on a 6-3 aggregate.
The hangover of the unjustifiable continental exit was visibly in the face and attitude of the players as Carlo Ancelotti prepares his men for another crunch showdown on Wednesday for DFB-Pokal semifinal against Borussia Dortmund.
Predictably, Ancelotti had Sven Ulreich in place of injured Manuel Neuer, who is done for the season, while Jerome Boateng and Javi Martinez were given the weekend off to deal with nagging injuries.
Still maintaining the old legs, the Italian coach decided to have his youngsters like Kingsley Coman, Renato Sanches and Joshua Kimmich sit ut on the bench, thus giving an impression that the trio could begin to look elsewhere where they can get better chance.
However, a surprise from the 57-year-old was giving Thomas Müller the captain arm band, the first time in his career o have skippered the team in an official game.
Mainz saw the depleted Bayern and swiftly responded in the 3rd minute to the countenance as Arturo Vidal gave away a goal in the Mainz quarters to allow Stoke City loanee Bojan Krkic wide space to stoke the ball between Ulreich’s legs for a surprising early lead.
The pressure piled high against the visibly distraught Bavarians and the visiotrs could have taken further lead save for Ulreich’s powerful save that denied Germany legend Uwe Seeler’s grandson Levin Öztunali his sixth Bundesliga goal since joining from Bayer Leverkusen last summer.
A quick counter-attacking play ended with Arjen Robben in the 16th minute and the Dutch international winger nicely placed a shot just inside the right corner of the post after receiving coolly leveled pass from Franck Ribery following swift exchanges from Mats Hummels to Müller.
The ensuing play saw the hosts taking possession and control of the game ending in a through ball in the 18th minute with Muller in the box.
His pass to Robert Lewandowski went behind the player producing several other chances in the 33rd minute.
Mainz reclaimed the lead just before half time (40th minute) after substitute Joshua Kimmich had a direct hand in kicking an opponent’s shin that resulted to a penalty which was coolly converted by Daniel Brosinski, although Ulreich got the direction and slightly fingertipped but all to no avail.
Bayern pressed on and continue a search for a rescue to save themselves from their third defeat this season and the response came with a little less a quarter of an hour to go after Robben found Thiago Alacantara at the top of the box, and the Spaniard found his way away from from a number of defenders before rodding the ball into the far corner.
The point although not enough for Bayern to say Eureka yet for the season it was enough to maintain their point-gap from second-placed title contenders Red Bull Leipzig who took a share of the spoils at home with Schalke after a 1-all draw.
Bayern are currently 70 points, 8 points clear of RB Leipzig, with 4 games to go in the season, and will face Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday in the first leg of the semi-finals of the DFB-Pokal.
Elsewhere, Augsburg were handed a 3-1 defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt to stay in the relegation play-off place on 32 points.
Wolfsburg resurgence recently suffered a huge setback as they were pimped 1-0 by hosts Hertha Berlin, a loss that leaves them Mainz and Hamburg toddling in the bottom table with just a one point better off.
Darmstadt won 2-1 at SV Hamburg for their first away points of the season to stave off early relegation for the second straight weekend.
Werder Bremen went home with a 4-2 win over second-last Ingolstadt with Striker Max Kruse scoring all four goals for the visitors.
Freiburg thumped Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 as Dortmund were 3-2 victorious over their neighbours Borussia Monchengladbach.
Koln and Hoffenheim played out a 1-all draw to keep the latter’s dream of a European football alive.