Bayern Munich may have started the season in scintillating form but they've hit something of a rough patch of late, with the former Bundesliga leaders finding themselves tumbling into third place thanks to their second straight loss. After a 1-0 home defeat against Borussia Dortmund, Bayern needed a strong response during their visit to Mainz. They didn't get it.
The hosts went 1-0 up early when Andreas Ivanschitz rounded Manuel Neuer and rolled the ball into the empty net in the tenth minute, and they managed to hold onto their lead for a full half before the inevitable happened and Bayern began to fight back. The visitors might not necessarily have deserved an equaliser, but they got one anyway when Daniel van Buyten's header from a Tani Kroos free kick caromed off a Mainz defender and beat a bemused Christian Wetklo to make it 1-1.
Mainz could easily have fallen apart after that, but they rallied and scored less than ten minutes later, with Marco Caliguiri making himself some space thirty yards out and squeezing in a low, curling shot at Neuer's far post. There was time for the hosts to make it 3-1 when Niko Bungert headed home a corner shortly thereafter. Bayern lacked the bite in the midfield usually provided by the injured Bastian Schweinsteiger, but were still strong enough to make things intheresting at the end, with van Buyten narrowing the deficit off another Kroos free kick with ten minutes to play before the big Belgian defender missed a chance to grab his hattrick - and a point for Bayern - when he missed an open goal with time expiring.
Bayern fall to third in the table behind Dortmund and Borussia Monchengladbach, a position that was unthinkable considering their hugely impressive start to the season. But since losing Schweinsteiger to a broken collarbone against Napoli, the former title favourites have earned just three points out of nine while a resurgent Dortmund crush more or less everyone in their domestic path. Someone has to step up for Bayern, and it should probably be quickly.