James Rodriguez was all smiles after scoring his first hat-trick for Bayern Munich against Mainz on Matchday 26. - © 2019 Getty Images
James Rodriguez was all smiles after scoring his first hat-trick for Bayern Munich against Mainz on Matchday 26. - © 2019 Getty Images
bundesliga

James Rodriguez: "If we keep this up, we'll be champions"

Star playmaker James Rodriguez insists that if Bayern Munich can continue their devastating run of form after the international break, then nothing and nobody can stop them from lifting a seventh consecutive Bundesliga title.

The Bavarian giants head into the two-week break level on points with Borussia Dortmund, although their successive demolitions of Borussia Mönchengladbach (5-1), Wolfsburg (6-0) and Mainz (6-0) have put them back at the summit of the Bundesliga, with a goal difference of +41 to BVB's +34.

Having ousted the Black-Yellows from top spot by scoring 17 goals in three outings – and conceding just once – Bayern now have eight more league games to ensure that the Meisterschale remains in their hands, including a crucial six-pointer at home to BVB on 6 April.

James Rodriguez counted up his goals in front of the crowd at the Allianz Arena. - imago images / Eibner

"I'm not thinking about Dortmund, just about the work we're doing," James told bundesliga.com after the Mainz game, in which he netted his first hat-trick for Bayern. "If we keep playing the way we are, we're going to be champions."

"I'm happy to have scored my first hat-trick here,' the Colombian said. "I hope to get more. The most important thing is that we played well. We've scored a lot of goals in our last few games in the Bundesliga, so I'm happy about that."

James has played a key role in helping Bayern recover some of their old swagger, having notched up four goals and three assists in his last six outings – all of them wins. Since recovering from a knee injury that kept him out of action in late 2018, the 27-year-old has never looked in better shape, and his importance cannot only be measured in statistics.

Watch: Can James score against Dortmund at the Allianz as he did last season?

"I think he did extraordinarily well [against Mainz], and not just because he scored three goals," explained Bayern coach Niko Kovac. "That was the icing on the cake. But he did so well – always asking for the ball, distributing it, shifting the play, getting the opposition moving – and that's what we need. The fact that he scored three goals says all you need to know about his quality."

In his favoured role as a central attacking midfielder, James has now started more games for Bayern in the last six weeks (7) than he did throughout the whole of the Hinrunde (6), and the record champions have been reaping the benefits.

It remains to be seen whether his deal will be made permanent over the summer, but if James can help the club to a seventh straight league title – their 28th of the Bundesliga era – it's easy to imagine Bayern's South American string-puller settling in for the long haul.