Sinsheim - Ask anyone at 1.FSV Mainz 05, Hertha Berlin or 1899 Hoffenheim and they will all say the same thing: there is something in the FC Bayern München psyche that simply does not know when to quit.

All three have opened the scoring against the Bundesliga leaders in recent weeks, but not one has even had a point to show for their lung-busting efforts come full time.

Same old story


"We held our own against Bayern, but everything has to be perfect if you want to make life even harder for them," explained Hoffenheim head coach Markus Gisdol after Saturday's 2-1 reverse at the Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena. "You can’t have them equalising with a deflected shot like that. I have mixed feelings now. On the one hand, I'm delighted we had Bayern on the back foot, but on the other we've come away empty-handed."

It is easy to see why he is so disappointed. Just like Mainz's Shawn Parker on Matchday 9 and Hertha striker Adrian Ramos last weekend, 18-year-old Niklas Süle struck first to put the purported underdogs in the driving seat, only for Mr. Right Place, Right Time, Mario Mandzukic, to bring Bayern level before half time. True to form, parity would not last, with Thomas Müller grabbing the decisive goal to send Pep Guardiola's ravenous Reds back to the Bundesliga summit, their psychological edge on Borussia Dortmund restored.

'Finding it tough'


"It certainly wasn't our best performance, but we won," said Guardiola. "Not everything was perfect, and we'll need to alter the way we're playing." The Catalan made four changes for the trip to Sinsheim, with Mario Götze, Javi Martinez, Mandzukic and Dante coming in for Rafinha, Daniel van Buyten, Toni Kroos and Arjen Robben, while captain Philipp Lahm reverted to his favoured position at right back. So what exactly is there to rectify?

For the fit-again Götze, it is not a question of making personnel changes, but rather a matter of tweaking the matchday mechanics out on the pitch. "We're somehow finding it tough to get going in all our games," he said. "We essentially shut them [Hoffenheim] out in the first half, but created very few clear-cut chances of our own." 17 attempts on goal is hardly a poor return, but when compared to Dortmund's six-goal yield from 16 efforts against VfB Stuttgart on Friday night, there is arguably plenty of room for improvement.

Winning philosophy


Still, it cannot be all that bad when you are top of the table, having just equalled Hamburger SV's long-standing, 36-match unbeaten Bundesliga run without even hitting top gear. "It's a great thing for the club, something extraordinary, but for the team all that matters is winning and playing well," said Guardiola, faithful - as ever - to Bayern's winning ethos.

In the week ahead, Guardiola's insatiable ensemble can sink their teeth into even more records. Should Bayern take three points from their trip to FC Viktoria Plzen on Tuesday night, they will equal FC Barcelona's best mark of nine consecutive victories in the UEFA Champions League. After that, regional neighbours FC Augsburg face the unenviable task of knocking the treble winners off their lofty unbeaten perch; a position they have now occupied since downing Hamburg back on 3 November 2012. Talk about hungry eyes.

Christopher Mayer-Lodge

Take a look at Guardiola's humble beginnings, courtesy of the official Bundesliga YouTube channel: