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Imposing Bayern forge to clear-cut victory

Bayern extracted a measure of revenge for their solitary home defeat of the season, climbed to second in the Bundesliga overnight, and warmed up in some style for the midweek trip to Inter Milan, with an always professional and occasionally glittering display in an entertaining clash away to Mainz.

The 20,300 capacity crowd at the Bruchweg stadium saw the champions take an early lead through Bastian Schweinsteiger and threaten to rip their opponents apart in the first 25 minutes, but the side in fifth fought back after that and there were chances at both ends in a free-flowing encounter.

Jörg Butt took over from the injured Thomas Kraft in the Bayern goal at half-time, but the visitors were unruffled by the change and eased further ahead through Thomas Müller just five minutes after the restart, before Mario Gomez bundled home the third 13 minutes from the end. Sami Allagui headed a consolation for the home team, but the margin of victory in no way flattered Bayern, with Franck Ribery having his best game in many a long month.

The crucial win takes Louis van Gaal’s men to second in the standings overnight on 42 points from 23 matches, still 13 points off leaders Dortmund but now level with Leverkusen, who host relegation candidates Stuttgart tomorrow. The Bavarians’ packed programme continues on Wednesday with the Champions League trip to Inter, before a Bundesliga cracker next Saturday evening when Dortmund visit Munich.