The Bundesliga race is starting to look like a foregone conclusion, with Bayern Munich running away atop the table and everyone else battling well behind them. In fact, while Bayern are playing the fifth-place side in the Bundesliga this round, their lead on Mainz 05 is 26 points wide. Twenty six points. That's ludicrous this early in the season.
But Mainz aren't without opportunity. Their fifth place standing is just three points behind third place, and if somehow, someway they can shock everyone and beat Bayern, they'll be hip-deep in the race for a Champions League place in Germany. That's worth a lot, and they're part of what's shaping up to be an exciting and chaotic run behind Bayern in the upper stretch of the Bundesliga table.
Key player -- Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
Lewandowski may not have scored five goals in ten minutes lately, but ever since the season restarted in January he's been on one of those special runs that he turns in a couple times a season. In eight all-competitions appearances since then, he has scored in six of them and totaled ten goals. Lewandowski is an imposing player to go up against even when he's not scoring goals by the bushel. And when he is -- well, Mainz defenders may need to bring several changes of shorts.
What's at stake
Bayern don't have much on the line in this one. Their lead in the league is looking pretty unassailable, and three points more or none won't change that at the moment. Mainz, however, have a chance to stand atop the chaos not far behind Bayern in the table. The gap from third place to tenth stands at just nine points right now, and Mainz are three points out of third place and six above the halfway mark of the table. A win would help them pull away from the mire, but a loss would make their fight for position all the longer and harder. They've got the ability to make something of themselves this season, but it's not going to be made easier with a loss in this game, even if that is the expected result considering their opposition.
Bayern Munich injuries and suspensions
Out: Rafinha, Jerome Boateng, Javi Martinez, Holger Badstuber, Tom Starke, Milos Pantovic
Mainz 05 injuries and suspensions
Out: Yoshinori Muto, Stefan Bell, Pierre Bengtsson, Philipp Klement
Match Date/Time: Wednesday, 2 p.m. ET, 8 p.m. local
Venue: Allianz-Arena, Munich, Germany
TV: Fox Sports 1 (U.S.), Sky Bundesliga 1/HD (Germany), BT Sport Europe (U.K.)
Online: Fox Soccer 2 Go, Fox Sports Go (U.S.), Sportsnet World Now (Canada), Sky Go Deutschland (Germany), BT Sport Live Streaming (U.K.)