FC Bayern reclaimed first place in the Bundesliga overnight thanks to a 3-1 victory away to FSV Mainz on Friday. The night began with a shock for the German record champions as Jhon Cordoba scored for the hosts after three minutes, but the Bavarians soon turned the tide, Robert Lewandowski and Arjen Robben finding the net before half-time. Lewandowski then closed out the win with a free-kick in second-half stoppage time.
The champions lined up with Manuel Neuer in goal and a back four comprising Joshua Kimmich, Javi Martínez, Mats Hummels and David Alaba. Philipp Lahm and Thiago took up station in defensive midfield, and the forward line featured Robben, Thomas Müller, Franck Ribéry and Lewandowski.
Carlo Ancelotti made two changes to the team that saw off Leverkusen last Weekend. Milestone man Robben, who made his 150th Bundesliga appearance, and Franck Ribéry took over from Xabi Alonso and Douglas Costa. It was the first time since March (against Mainz) that the two wingers made Bayern's starting XI - and the first time Ancelotti deviated from his usual 4-3-3 formation, opting for 4-2-3-1 instead. The Bayern head coach will feel vindicated by his team's performance.
After a minute's silence for the victims of the plane crash in South America, the 34,000 capacity crowd saw a frantic opening phase with chances at either end, and the scoreline soon reflected the happenings on the pitch. The match began with a shock for the visitors as Mainz's Cordoba ghosted past the Bayern rearguard and struck the ball into the far corner from 15 yards.
The German record champions replied almost immediately. Lahm, who turned in a superb display, recovered the ball on the edge of the Bayern box. Three passes and 80 yards later the Bayern faithful at the Opel-Arena rose to hail Lewandowski's equaliser. Robben shone with great pace, squaring the ball to the Pole who calmly went on to level the scores. Ten minutes later it was the Dutchman who scored, putting the Munich men ahead with a sumptuous header following a pinpoint cross by Müller.
Lewy wraps it up
Bayern continued to dominate proceedings after the interval, but failed to create any gilt-edged chances at first. Most notably, Robben missed two opportunities, seeing one denied by Mainz netminder Jonas Lössl and the second shot deflected. Ancelotti's men controlled the match and were rarely in danger, but a third goal refused to come untl the hosts gave away a free-kick 20 yards from goal with the final whistle imminent. Up stepped Lewandowski to wrap up the points with a brilliant drive into the corner of the net, setting a record: it was his fourth brace away to Mainz on the bounce.
The result means Bayern have 30 points from 13 matches, claiming top spot in the Bundesliga table overnight. The Bavarians are equal on points with RB Leipzig who face Schalke on Saturday evening. The Reds will be back in action on Tuesday, when they entertain Atlético in the final Champions League group match.
Live match report for fcbayern.com by Gregor Salmen
FSV Mainz 05 - FC Bayern 1-3 (H-T: 1-2)
Lössl - Balogun, Bell, Hack (Öztunali 62) - Bussmann - Donati, Frei (Latza 72), Ramalho (De Blasis 81), Malli, Brosinski - Cordoba, Onisiwo
Huth - Bungert, Bussmann, Seydel
Neuer - Kimmich (Vidal 77), Martínez, Hummels, Alaba - Lahm, Thiago - Robben, Müller (Sanches 87), Ribéry (Costa 66) - Lewandowski
Ulreich - Bernat, Rafinha, Boateng, Vidal
Daniel Siebert (Berlin)
1-0 Cordoba (4), 1-1 Lewandowski (8), 1-2 Robben (21), 1-3 Lewandowski (90+2)
Cordoba (83), Bell (85), Balogun (90+1) / Martínez (44), Lewandowski (76)