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Unfamiliar ‘strike pair’

Mandzu and Lahm keep FCB on course

Bayern fans could hardly believe their eyes for a moment or two when the skipper suddenly appeared up front where Mario Mandzukic, Thomas Müller, Mario Götze and Co normally ply their trade. And what a great job he did. Playing like a natural striker, Philipp Lahm converted a chance laid on by fellow forward Mandzukic to put FCB 2-0 up in the all-Bavarian derby against FC Nürnberg. 

“It’s definitely something special when you score again after such a long time,” declared Lahm after his 250th league appearance in a Bayern shirt, which he rounded off with his tenth Bundesliga goal. “I can’t remember my last goal at all,” admitted the 30-year-old, who previously found the back of the net 1,155 days before. Lahm scored from the penalty spot in the 3-0 home win against FC St. Pauli on 11 December 2010.

The defensive expert was modest when describing his first goal after three years and 59 days. “It’s not as if I had to beat a couple of opponents and put the ball in the top corner,” explained Lahm who only had to “tap the ball into the net” from seven yards out. The 30-year-old would not object to scoring a few more goals even if, as Lahm added himself: “My main duties don’t include scoring goals.”

Mandzukic on song

‘Strike partner’ Mandzukic not only brilliantly set up Lahm to score but also got his name on the score sheet in the first half. The twelfth goal of the season for the Croat on 18 minutes put Bayern on course for their twelfth Bundesliga win in succession. It was his sixth goal in five games against FC Nürnberg - the Croatia international has not scored as often against any other side.

Mandzukic was in impressive form in the recent 5-0 thrashing of Eintracht Frankfurt. As in the Nürnberg game, the striker was directly involved in two goals. Mandzu has now scored 47 goals and provided 14 assists in his 99 Bundesliga appearances to date. The Croat will have to wait a bit for his century, as a fifth yellow card means he will not be able to add to his goals tally in next weekend’s match against Freiburg. But he will be back soon.