Germany: Bundesliga
2 - 1
(0 - 1)
FC Bayern
Mainz 05
K. Coman (53), J. Musiala (74)
K. Onisiwo (22)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

15.30 Kickoffs: Bayern comeback win and Dortmund draw increases gap at top

While there may not have been as many goals in the Bundesliga's set of 15:30 kickoffs this week as in the two rounds prior, a captivating set of tense fixtures all went down to the wire.

Both FC Bayern München and Borussia Dortmund initially fell behind their opponents. The German record Champions managed to engineer a comeback against Mainz whilst the BVB could only draw Ruhr rivals VfL Bochum at the Castrop. 

This pair of results effectively hands Bayern the "Herbstmeisterschaft" (Germany's Champions of the season's first half).

Bayern now lead Dortmund by six points with two rounds remaining before the 2021/22 campaign reaches its halfway mark. 
Bayern head-coach Julian Nagelsmann said that he expected nothing short of three victories from the final three matches in 2021 during his Friday presser. After a comeback win over a tough visiting Mainz squad at the Allianz on Saturday, Germany's record champions are well on their way. A win in this round, coupled with a draw from nearest challengers Dortmund, basically assures that Bayern will remain in top spot through Christmas.

Nagelsmann saw no need to tinker with his 3-4-2-1. Lucas Hernandez replacing Niklas Süle in the starting XI meant that the same personnel choices (excepting of Jamal Musiala over the injured Leon Goretzka) from last week's duel against Dortmund were in the blocks. Bo Svensson rolled out his normal 3-5-2, seeing no need to make any personnel changes from last week's 3-0 win over Wolfsburg.

The visiting Rheinhessen defended with discipline. After a few early chances involving Alphonso Davies, Bayern found themselves completely shut out of the final third. Mainz got their first real looks at goal during a flurry of chances around the 20th. The FSV striking tandem known as "Johnny-si-wo managed to snag a lead out of it. Karim Onisiwo headed home a Jonathan Burkardt rebound for the 1-0 in the 22nd.

Bayern were able to make some incursions into Mainz territory as they sought an equalizer before the half. Actual legitimate chances still didn't really materialize and the teams entered the locker rooms with the favored hosts trailing 0-1. Bayern continued to struggle with chance creation for the initial seven minutes after the restart, but an incisive long-ball from Corentin Tolisso to fellow Frenchman Kingsley Coman in the 53rd unlocked the FSV.

Coman nutmegged outrushing Mainz keeper Robin Zentner before finishing. The French international with the sudden kick for scoring in clutch situations attained his fifth league goal of the season in some style. After Coman's breakthrough, the Bavarians gradually began to break the Mainz defense down. Svensson's men had increasing difficulty closing ranks at the back and Bayern found moire space.

Jamali Musiala floated into one such space in the 74th. The German teenager made no mistake with a cutting, low corner finish from the edge of the 18. The lead restored and their job mostly done for the day, a much more relaxed Bayern never relinquished control of the match down the stretch. Mainz's attempts to mount attacks were ultimately rather calmly dealt with.

Elsewhere in there Bundesliga's 15:30 kickoffs, RB Leipzig were able to snap their three match league losing streak under new head-coach Domenico Tedesco. The German Red Bulls prevailed over Adi Hütter's Gladbach 4-1at the Red Bull Arena.

Suddenly struggling Gladbach now have their own worrying three match losing streak to contend with. After dropping the derby to rivals Köln two weeks ago and losing 0-6 at home to Freiburg last week, the foals have been outscored 14-2 in the their last three league rounds.

Hertha BSC also got their first win under their new head coach. Tayfun Korkut's "alte Dame" bested Bielefeld 2-0. The scorer of the game winning goal was none other than veteran striker Stevan Jovetic. The Montenegrin captain's blistering form continues.

Following his brace against Stuttgart last week, the 32-year-old has now tallied four times in his last three starts. There's more good news for Hertha in that Davie Selke added his first league goal back in BSC blue at 90+5.

Freiburg will be kicking themselves after blowing their own comeback attempt at home against Hoffenheim. The visitors from north Baden jumped out to a early lead, but another sublime Vincenzo Grifo service to Nico Schlotterbeck helped the hosts restore parity.

Unfortunately, Grifo missed a chance to retake the lead with a missed penalty. Following Grifo's failure to convert from the spot in the 62nd. and the Krachgauer snatched a late 2-1 victory at 90+4. American Chris Richards headed home the game winner.

Dortmund's dramatic late equalizer came off of Julian Brandt's boot. Given what the German attacker had gone through in the past week, it proved quite the scene amid die Schwarzgelben players on the Vonovia Ruhrstadion pitch.

One point for Dortmund and three for Bayern nevertheless means that that Bayern have opened up a six-point-lead at the top. The gap practically garuntees that the German giants will be crowned "Herbstmeister" (Champions of the first half of the season).

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