FC Bayern beat FSV Mainz 3-1 on Saturday afternoon, reclaiming top spot in the table. Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Müller and Thiago handed Bayern a three-goal lead, Jeremiah St. Juste pulling one back for the hosts before half-time. The second half was long on aggression but short on chances, and Bayern wrapped up a comfortable win.
The Bavarians started with Manuel Neuer in goal and Benjamin Pavard, Jérôme Boateng, David Alaba and Alphonso Davies in a back four. Joshua Kimmich, Thiago and Leon Goretzka featured in midfield, with Müller and Ivan Perišić out wide and Lewandowski up front. Philippe Coutinho and Serge Gnabry took over from Goretzka and Müller midway through the second half, Tolisso coming on for Perišić in the closing stages.
Impressive first half
The 33,305 full house in Mainz saw Bayern in the driving seat, and Lewandowski rewarded their dominance when he expertly dispatched Pavard's pinpoint cross. The hosts were reeling, Munich often finding themselves in acres of space and enjoying plenty of time on the ball in the final third. Bayern extended their lead when netminder Robin Zentner denied Lewandowski, Goretzka poking the loose ball back for Müller to slot home.
Mainz had not gone absent without leave, Ridle Baku hitting the post, but Thiago soon sidestepped three defenders and crowned his solo run with a piledriver into the far corner of the net. Bayern eased off now, Levin Öztunali firing over the bar before St. Juste pulled one back with a header that found the net with the help of a deflection.
Quiet second half
Perišić miscued a header, Neuer comfortably saving from Barreiro at the other end. Mainz were much more aggressive than in the first half but offered little goal threat, rarely looking like mounting a comeback. A cross evaded Lewandowski before Neuer made a crucial save to deny sub Adam Szalai.
Lewandowski fired wide as Bayern upped the pressure in the closing stages. Quaison hit the post following a corner, but the linesman had raised his flag for offside anway, and match official Bastian Dankert blew for full-time.
The result takes Bayern onto 42 points from 20 matches, two ahead of RB Leipzig, who face Gladbach later on Saturday. The German record champions will retain top spot if Leipzig fail to win. The Bavarians will be back in action on Wednesday, when they entertain Hoffenheim in the DFB Cup Round of 16 before a mouth-watering clash with RB next Sunday.
Live match report for fcbayern.com by Greg Salmen
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Zentner – Baku, Niakhaté, St. Juste, Brosinski – Kunde (Latza 32), Barreiro (Onisiwo 72) – Öztunali, Boëtius, Quaison – Mateta (Szalai 74)
Müller – Aarón, Ji, Bruma, Mwene, Burkardt
Neuer – Pavard, Boateng, Alaba, Davies – Kimmich, Thiago, Goretzka (Coutinho 65) – Müller (Gnabry 65), Lewandowski, Perišić (Tolisso 90)
Ulreich – Odriozola, Cuisance, Zirkzee
Bastian Dankert (Rostock)
0-1 Lewandowski (8), 0-2 Müller (14), 0-3 Thiago (26), 1-3 St. Juste (45)
St. Juste, Boëtius, Latza / Goretzka