Bayern back on top ahead of crucial week
"Only FCB will be German champions!" sang the euphoric visiting fans inside the Opel-Arena on Saturday evening. They'd just watched their team secure a 3-1 win against 1. FSV Mainz 05 and with it, top spot in the Bundesliga table. A few hours later, those fans were in an even better mood after the 2-2 draw in the late kick-off between RB Leipzig and Borussia Mönchengladbach, which means Bayern will finish Matchday 20 on top.
Three goals in 26 minutes
The men from Munich had no trouble picking up from their excellent home win against Schalke, particularly in the first half. "I was thrilled by the first 30 minutes," praised coach Hansi Flick. "We were very efficient in the first half," agreed captain Manuel Neuer.
Wonder goal crowns Thiago's display at Mainz:
Goals from Robert Lewandowski (8'), Thomas Müller (14') and the impressive Thiago (26') gave the Reds a comfortable early lead. After that, "we dropped the tempo and underperformed after the break," assessed Flick. In the end, what David Alaba described as a "needless goal" from Jeremiah St. Juste (45') turned out to be nothing more than a footnote. "We kept our concentration until the end and got the job done. That's fine!" summarised sporting director Hasan Salihamidžić.
The rest of the post-match reaction:
Kimmich celebrates 100th Bundesliga win
The German record champions once again produced attractive and effective attacking football, while being tight and disciplined in defence. As a result, the home side barely had any chances, which was also down to the well-functioning midfield pair of goalscorer Thiago and Joshua Kimmich. The Germany international celebrated his 100th Bundesliga win in just his 132rd game. Only Javi Martínez, Thiago and Arjen Robben have reached that milestone more quickly.
Cup quarter-final followed by top-of-the-table clash
It was Bayern's sixth successive win in the league. "That's the real FC Bayern. We need to keep this up," remarked Neuer ahead of a crucial upcoming week. On Wednesday, it's the DFB Cup last-16 clash with TSG 1899 Hoffenheim at the Allianz Arena. "We're determined to get through to the next round," added the skipper. Then on Sunday, there's another massive home match as Bayern host RB Leipzig in a top-of-the-table battle.
Robert Lewandowski gave Bayern an early lead with his 150th Bundesliga goal – in his 179th appearance:
Going into the week with confidence
"We're going into that match as favourites," said a confident Alaba. "We've earned that role and won our games. That gives us a lot of confidence which we want to take into next week." The Austrian and his teammates were in high spirits as they left Mainz, although not quite as ecstatic as the supporters. They know there's still a long way to go.