Created on 26-09-2015 at 17:19 PM by Chris Hamley
Bayern go into Tuesday’s first home fixture in the Champions League group stage riding a blistering wave of form as the Reds equalled the record for the best-ever start to a Bundesliga season with a seventh straight win, Saturday’s 3-0 success away to ninth-placed FSV Mainz. All the goals, including a brace from man of the moment Robert Lewandowski, came in another irresistible second-half display from Pep Guardiola’s men.
The 34,000 capacity crowd at the Coface Arena saw the champions soon find their rhythm, but Thomas Müller missed a 20th-minute penalty and there were no goals before half-time. It all changed six minutes after the restart when Lewandowski opened the scoring with his 100th Bundesliga goal, the Pole adding his and his team’s second on 63 minutes and Kingsley Coman making it 3-0 five minutes after that.
The result means Bayern consolidate their position at the top of the standings on the maximum 21 points, now five clear of second-placed Dortmund overnight. The Bavarians are back in action three days from now at home to Dinamo Zagreb, before the eagerly-awaited clash with BVB at the Allianz Arena on Sunday 4 October.
Starts for Kingsley and Javi
Guardiola made four changes to the team that thrashed Wolfsburg 5-1 in the Lewandowski show last Tuesday. The striker himself, Javi Martinez, Coman and Rafinha came into the side in place of Arturo Vidal, Jerome Boateng, Mario Götze and Juan Bernat, who all took seats on the bench.
All eyes were on Lewandowski after his astonishing midweek heroics, but more important to FCB fans was the sight of Martinez making his first start since May, the next crucial step in the Spaniard’s comeback after 14 months of injury misery.
The champions began with Manual Neuer in goal behind a back four of Rafinha, Martinez, Xabi Alonso and David Alaba, with captain Philipp Lahm and Thiago in central midfield. The attacking unit featured Coman, Thomas Müller, Douglas Costa and Lewandowski.
Goalless at the break
After referee Bastian Dankert whistled play underway, the pattern of the match was soon established with the visitors in control of the ball and Martin Schmidt’s home team massed in their own half. Müller skied the first chance and then came up short of Thiago’s dinked free-kick, but the Germany man spurned the first truly gilt-edged opportunity when he slipped while taking a 20th-minute penalty awarded for Pablo De Blasis’ clear foul on Coman and shanked his spot-kick into the stands.
Undeterred, the Reds pressed and home keeper Loris Karius saved Alaba’s direct free-kick, although Mainz showed as an attacking force for the first time on 28 minutes when Japanese import Yoshinori Muto fired a hair’s breadth wide of the post.
Karius acrobatically turned a Costa 25-yarder away for a corner and Coman smashed an equally long-range effort over the bar, but all in all it was a cagey first half and the game remained goalless at the interval.
Another strong second half
FCB took the lead on 51 minutes with the first real chance of the second half when Lewandowski drifted off his marker and planted a firm eight-yard header past Karius from a beautifully-weighted Coman cross. Vidal took over from Müller just short of the hour and the Chilean soon set up an opening for Coman, although the French youngster could not get power on his shot.
Lewandowski showed how it should be done on 63 minutes with his and his team’s second of the afternoon, the Pole latching onto Vidal’s neat pass and rounding Karius before slotting home. Martinez now gave way to Boateng, and a short time later the Reds were three up, Costa showing the Mainz defence a clean pair of heels before squaring for Coman to side-foot into the empty net from six yards.
Götze played the last 20 minutes in place of Costa as FCB thoughts turned to the Zagreb clash, and Mainz now enjoyed their best spell with Christian Clemens angling a drive onto Neuer’s left-hand post. But the Reds saw it home to the end, Lewandowski only being denied a hat-trick by sub Leon Balogun's desperate lunge, and secured a record-equalling seventh straight win at the start of a season.
Live match report for fcbayern.de by Chris Hamley