Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Müller and Thiago strike again as Bayern Munich go top with win in Mainz
Bayern Munich moved a provisional top after first-half goals from Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Müller and Thiago Alcantara gave the defending champions a 3-1 win at Mainz.
Mainz 1-3 Bayern Munich
Goals: 0-1 Lewandowski (8'), 0-2 Müller (14'), 0-3 Thiago (26'), 1-3 St. Juste (45')
Mainz went within a whisker of a taking an early lead as Jeremiah St. Juste sent a Daniel Brosinski corner agonisingly wide, but their attacking endeavour was massively let down by a sluggish defensive display. Lewandowski was given all the time in the world to power in a header from Benjamin Pavard's cross to break the deadlock, and when goalkeeper Robin Zentner could only half clear at the feet of Bayern's 22-goal top scorer, the red shirts failed to react as Müller drove home Leon Goreztka's lay-off for 2-0. Leandro Barreiro struck the foot of Manuel Neuer's left-hand post during Mainz's best spell, but a wonderful solo run and finish from Thiago left them with a mountain to climb. A St. Juste header on the stroke of half-time gave them half a chance, thanks in no small part to a heavy deflection off Goretzka.
That goal gave Mainz a huge lift. They were unrecognisable in the second period, with Ridle Baku firing wide and Brosinski testing Neuer from distance. Such was their improvement, Bayern didn't manage to register a shot on target until the 75th minute when substitute Philippe Coutinho - on as part of a double change involving Serge Gnabry - stung the palms of Zentner from distance. Quick-fire chances fell the way of Ivan Perisic and Lewandowski, before Thiago underlined his explosive form since the turn of the year with a timely intervention to deny Mainz substitute Adam Szalai from close range. Lewandowski passed up the chance to double his tally, but the scoreline gloss wasn't needed as Bayern extended their winning run to six, moving top of the table for the first time in over three months, ahead of RB Leipzig's meeting with Borussia Mönchengladbach.
- Bayern have the best attack in the Bundesliga with 58 goals scored after 20 rounds of fixtures. It's the joint-best return of all time at this juncture after Werder Bremen in 1985/86.
- Lewandowski's 16 goals against Mainz have come in his last 15 meetings with the 05ers. He has 19 in as many competitive games against the 05ers overall.
- The Pole's opener was his 150th Bundesliga goal for Bayern, and 224th including his stint with Borussia Dortmund.
- Gerd Müller is the only other player in Bundesliga history (in 1972/73) to reach 22 goals after 20 matchdays.
- Until recently, Thiago had gone almost a year without scoring. He's now found the net in three successive Bundesliga matches for the first time.
- Müller has also scored in three games in a row - for the first time since November 2015.
- Bayern are on their longest winning run of the Bundesliga season (six), while Mainz have lost four on the bounce.
Watch: Alphonso Davies discusses Bayern's six-match winning run
Mainz: Zentner – Baku, Niakhate (c), St. Juste, Brosinski - Öztunali, Kunde (Latza 32'), Barreiro (Onisiwo 71') – Boetius – Quaison, Mateta (Szalai 75')
Unused subs: Müller, Martin, Ji, Bruma, Mwene, Burkhardt
Out: Bell (ankle), Fernandes (knee), Pierre-Gabriel (knock)
Coach: Achim Beierlorzer
Bayern: Neuer (c) – Pavard, Boateng, Alaba, Davies – Kimmich, Thiago – Müller (Gnabry 65'), Goretzka (Coutinho 65'), Perisic (Tolisso 89') – Lewandowski
Unused subs: Ulreich, Odriozola, Cuisance, Zirkzee
Out: Coman (knee), Martinez (thigh), Süle (torn ACL)
Coach: Hansi Flick
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