James Rodriguez had a hand in both goals as runaway Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich recorded a 2-0 win at Mainz on Saturday.
Mainz 0-2 Bayern Munich
Wholesale Bayern changes played into Mainz hands in the early stages, but the 05ers could not take advantage as Alexandru Maxim curled wide and Levin Öztunali passed up a glorious opening to test Sven Ulreich from 18 yards. Bayern went up a gear after the half-hour mark, though, and went ahead through Franck Ribery's venomous drive after Yoshinori Muto could only half clear a James corner. A brilliant piece of control and an emphatic finish from James doubled the leaders' advantage late in the half.
With Bayern beginning to purr, only a strong stop from Robin Zentner prevented Sandro Wagner from making it three Bayern goals from as many shots on goal. Mainz went for broke as substitute Robin Quaison and Muto tested Ulreich, before the returning Mats Hummels was forced into evasive action to deny Abdou Diallo. Quaison drove wide when clean through on goal and Muto had an effort ruled out for offside in an entertaining finale, but Lady Luck was shining on Bayern, who posted their first clean sheet and fourth successive win of the calendar year.
Man of the Match
James put in another effortless display in the No.10 role. The Colombian playmaker has now had a direct hand in six goals in three Bundesliga appearances in 2018.
- Bayern have a comfortable 18-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga standings, which is the biggest gap in history after 21 matches.Ribery scored his second Bundesliga goal of the season. It was the Frenchman's first against Mainz in 12 attempts.All four of James' four Bundesliga goals have been scored with his left foot.Jerome Boateng made his 150th Bundesliga appearance for Bayern.Bayern have won the last six meetings in Mainz, scoring at least twice on every occasion.Mainz have suffered more defeats (17) and conceded more goals (62) against Bayern than against any other team.
Mainz: Zentner – Donati, Diallo, Bell (c), Hack, Holtmann (Berggreen 72') - Gbamin, Latza - Öztunali (Quaison 46'), Maxim (Serdar 57') - Muto
Unused subs: Müller, De Jong, Brosinski, Ujah
Absentees: Adler (tendon), Bungert (gluteal muscle), Onisiwo (ill)
Coach: Sandro Schwarz
Bayern: Ulreich - Rafinha, Boateng, Hummels, Bernat - Rudy (Alaba 69'), Tolisso - Müller (c), James, Ribery (Coman 81') - Wagner (Lewandowski 62')
Unused subs: Starke, Süle, Robben, Kimmich
Absentees: Neuer (foot), Thiago (thigh), Früchtl (foot), Vidal (stomach), Alaba (knock), Martinez (sprained ankle)
Coach: Jupp Heynckes
Watch: James on an "intense game"