Munich - Mario Mandzukic took centre stage as Bayern Munich eased back into the Bundesliga swing of things with a routine 2-0 win over bottom club Greuther Fürth.
Backs to the wall
The Croatian striker struck either side of the break to take his league tally to eleven for the season, with Bayern utterly dominant and looking every bit like champions in the making.
There was absolutely no sign of any rust on the gears as the Bundesliga leaders made the sort of assured and ominous start typical of their stellar season so far. Be it on the left or right, Franck Ribery was seeing plenty of the ball, taking just four minutes to force the game's first corner from which Javi Martinez tickled the side netting.
The cellar-stricken visitors rarely had less than nine men behind the ball and it was Bayern's relentless running of the flanks that was causing all the problems. Ribery and David Alaba combined to win Bayern's fourth corner, with Fürth stopper Wolfgang Hesl putting his body on the line to foil Mandzukic from close range.
The walls came down two minutes later, though, as Thomas Müller expertly brought Dante's sublime crossfield pass under wraps, before finding Mandzukic, who struck to end his run of six games without a goal - albeit with a little help from the goalkeeper. Bayern almost stretched their lead before the break, only for Mandzukic to fluff his lines from just five yards out.
The hosts had enjoyed 78% ball possession during the first half and the game looked set to continue in a similar vein at the start of the second as Bastian Schweinsteiger came within inches of prodding home Ribery's teasing cross. It was a chance the hosts were almost left to rue moments later, but Dante was on hand to deny Christopher Nöthe after Bayern momentarily switched off.
Mandzukic at the double
Yet that was about as good as it got for the Bundesliga strugglers, with Bayern extending their lead on the hour-mark. Toni Kroos' flighted corner found Mandzukic, who shrugged off the attentions of a ruck of green and white shirts to help himself to his fifth headed goal of the campaign and his sixth career brace.
The points sewn up, Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes gave Arjen Robben and Xherdan Shaqiri a run-out with 20 minutes left on the clock and the two wide men quickly set about their wing-tearing task. Ribery, too, still had plenty left in the tank, before star man Mandzukic made way to rapturous applause, the home fans' Bundesliga thirsts suitably quenched following four weeks' rest.
Line-ups and statistics
Christopher Mayer-Lodge in Munich