Bayern miss title chance with Mainz loss

·2-min read

Bayern Munich have missed their first chance to confirm a record-extending ninth consecutive Bundesliga title when they slumped to a shock 2-1 defeat at Mainz in a miserable performance.

A terrible error from goalkeeper Manuel Neuer gifted Jonathan Burkardt a third minute opener and Robin Quaison doubled Mainz's lead before halftime on Saturday.

The on-form hosts missed plenty other chances to score but - unlike when they lost 5-2 in Munich after leading Bayern 2-0 at halftime earlier in the season - did not get punished this time.

Bayern struggled, with fit-again star Robert Lewandowski unusually slack in front of goal even though he did net his 36th of the season with an injury-time consolation to move within four of Gerd Muller's 1971-72 record.

Topping the table by 10 points, Bayern could yet be crowned champions this weekend if second-placed RB Leipzig lose at home to VfB Stuttgart on Sunday.

Their bid to seal matters under their own steam faltered immediately when Burkardt's shot from the edge of the box was parried by Neuer, who seemed unsighted by the sun, into the corner of the net.

Quaison headed in Phillipp Mwene's free kick in the 37th but by then Mainz had also hit the post twice through Danny Latza and Danny de Costa deflections.

"I first have to digest this defeat," said Bayern coach Hansi Flick. "The team have not had the intensity on the pitch that we know. They looked slow."

Bayern did make a great opportunity to level for Lewandowski, back for the first time since a March knee injury, but he curled high over the bar.

"We didn't create enough chances and were punished for our mistakes," Neuer told Sky, while Thomas Muller admitted: "Mainz defended passionately. We have tried but we didn't deserve to take a point with us."

The title does seem inevitable for Bayern, though, with three games remaining. Their next chance to make things safe is at home to Borussia Monchengladbach on May 8.

Fifth-placed Borussia Dortmund closed in on the Champions League with a crucial 2-0 win at Wolfsburg, despite Jude Bellingham's red card.

Erling Haaland's double either side of the teenager's dismissal moved them within two points of their hosts in third.

Dortmund are also just one point behind fourth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt, who lost 3-1 at sixth-placed Bayer Leverkusen.

"I think that we are now psychologically in the advantage," said Dortmund's Marco Reus. "We have to use the situation when we have the momentum."

Joel Pohjanpalo's hat-trick kept Union Berlin's European dream on track with a 3-1 win over relegation-threatened Werder Bremen, who have lost seven in a row.

Midtable Hoffenheim drew 1-1 at Freiburg in the other Saturday match.