Bayern hopes to continue perfect start
Munich, Germany (Sports Network) - Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes had to be cautious of a hangover after last season's trio of runner-up finishes, but his side has responded with a perfect start in all competitions.
Bayern stopped a five-game losing streak to Borussia Dortmund in the DFB Super Cup in early August, beat Jahn Regensburg in its Pokal Cup opener and defeated Greuther Furth and Stuttgart in its first two Bundesliga matches.
Heynckes believed the start "shows the team is hungry and has rediscovered its appetite."
Bayern was runner-up in the Champions League, Bundesliga and Pokal Cup, but it has reloaded for the new season and been impressive in its four competitive matches.
Heynckes cautioned Mainz would be "very difficult opponents" Saturday at the Allianz Arena, but Bayern comes off the international break on the heels of a 6-1 win over Stuttgart.
Thomas Muller scored twice, and Luis Gustavo, Toni Kroos, Mario Mandzukic, and Bastian Schweinsteiger also scored in the game, which also marked the debut of $50 million signing Javi Martinez.
Martinez was the last of the summer arrivals, coming from Athletic Bilbao on a Bundesliga record transfer. He played just a small role against Stuttgart, but could be set for his first start against Mainz.
Bayern has also yet to use striker Mario Gomez or left back David Alaba, two injured players. But with more depth this season, the absences are easier to deal with as the club tunes up for Champions League play.
Bayern begins group play in the Champions League on Wednesday at home against Valencia, and Mainz can only hope its host has its sights on its next opponent this weekend. Mainz has a draw in two games and should struggle in Munich.
After two runner-up finishes in the last three events, Bayern is still among the favorites to win the tournament this season.
Two-time defending champion Borussia Dortmund is coming off a 1-1 draw against Nurnberg, and will try to get back on track when it hosts Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday.
Dortmund will also hope to gain some momentum with its Champions League group opener against Ajax on Tuesday in the "Group of Death."
Schalke, which opens Champions League play Tuesday against Olympiacos, visits promoted Greuther Furth on Saturday looking to add to its haul of four points from two matches.
Also Saturday, Hannover hosts Werder Bremen, Monchengladbach hosts Nurnberg, and Stuttgart hosts Dusseldorf. On Sunday, two-win Eintracht hosts Hamburg as it looks to continue a surprise start, and Freiburg hosts Hoffenheim.
On Friday, Wolfsburg earned a point with a 0-0 draw at Augsburg.