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Relentless Reds

Bayern show form of champions against Mainz

Probably the only Bayern man to suffer a brief moment of unease at the Allianz Arena on Saturday was Louis van Gaal. When Arjen Robben, who had just rounded off the scoring to make it 3-0 for the home team, charged towards the FCB boss with a jubilant smile on his face, Van Gaal held out his hands in a protective gesture and took a few steps back. The coach strained a hamstring attempting to avoid the same player’s celebratory charge in Bremen the previous weekend. “I’d been told to take it easy, even if we scored. I saw Robben coming at me again, and I was slightly afraid,” reported Van Gaal. However, the player was in a charitable mood and applied the brakes, gently easing himself into the coach’s welcoming embrace. Van Gaal survived the incident without further injury.

That short moment aside, the match was otherwise packed with positives from a Bayern point of view. FCB won the shot count 31-6, delivered 26 crosses to their opponents’ two, won 9-1 on corners, and made 64 percent of the passes played. “There was never any question as to who would win,” said Jörg Butt afterwards. “There was no time at which I feared we might not win,” Mario Gomez agreed.