After Wednesday’s traumatic Champions League exit, FC Bayern München were back in blistering form as they returned to domestic Bundesliga action against Mainz at the Allianz Arena. Any fears of a season-ending slump were quickly dispelled, as a rejuvenated James Rodríguez hit a superb hat-trick.
A second 6:0 victory in successive weeks keeps the Bavarians top of the Bundesliga, ahead of Borussia Dortmund on goal difference. With eight match days remaining, the team are back in action after the international break.
Five changes, lightning start
Bayern coach Niko Kovač made five changes to the team that started in midweek against Liverpool. Serge Gnabry was out with a cold, and was not in the squad along with Javi Martínez who was nursing a head injury. Joshua Kimmich and Thomas Müller, both banned from the Champions League match, returned to the starting eleven, with Leon Goretzka also making a start. Jérôme Boateng was a straight swap for Mats Hummels, while Kingsley Coman lined up instead of Franck Ribéry.
If the Bayern players had left their shooting boots elsewhere on Wednesday, this was not the case against their mid-table opponents. In fact, after last week’s 6:0 demolition of VfL Wolfsburg, it was if the Champions League trauma had never happened.
If Bayern’s rivals had hoped for the beginning of a season-ending slump, the answer came after just three minutes.
Having played a passive role in midweek, David Alaba was quickly flying down the flank. His opening cross was on a plate for Robert Lewandowski, whose volleyed finish was exquisite. When he is in the mood, the Polish striker is lethal. Of course, he also needs to be provided with the ammunition. Before the crowd or the opposition had time to even draw breath, we saw just what had been missing against Liverpool.
— Bundesliga English (@Bundesliga_EN) March 17, 2019
Mainz were rocking, and Kovač’s side pushed the pedal firmly to the floor. They had a massive point to prove, and Sandro Schwarz’s men were going to play the price. Coman lashed the ball against the post after twelve minutes, and it was only a matter of time when the next goal would come.
A tame shot from Levin Öztunalı was the best the visitors had to offer, and the biggest danger to the Bayern goal came from Manuel Neuer himself. Determined to fulfil his sweeper-keeper role, the Bayern skipper made a complete hash of a needless passing exchange in his own box – and was lucky to grasp the ball and avoid yet another embarrassing moment.
Thankfully, the action quickly switched to the other end. Just after the half hour mark, Kimmich’s ball into the box was chested down neatly by Goretzka, and James found the back of the net with a sweetly-timed first-time shot that fizzed past Mainz ‘keeper Florian Müller.
With the additional breathing space, the Bavarians shifted up through the gears. Six minutes before the break, Coman charged towards the edge of the box, created the space he needed, and smashed the ball into the bottom right-hand corner.
— DW Sports (@dw_sports) March 17, 2019
James completes his hat-trick
Mainz looked to stem the tide in the second half, but there was no let up from the home side. Niklas Süle went close with a 47th minute effort, and just four minutes later James hit his second. Collecting the ball from Boateng at the edge of the penalty area, the Colombian found the bottom left-hand corner with another fizzer.
Just four minutes later, James completed his first Dreierpack in Bayern colours. The Mainz defence were again caught napping when centre-back Alexander Hack was robbed by Müller, and James provided a finish that contrasted beautifully with his previous two. A delightful dink, both cheeky and elegant at the same time.
— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) March 17, 2019
With the game long done and dusted, Canadian teenager Alphonso Davies came on for Alaba. It meant that he would get at least half an hour of pitch time, having racked up just 25 minutes in his previous four appearances off the bench.
Davies gets off the mark
It would not take long for Davies to make his first tangible contribution in a Bayern Trikot. In the 70th minute, the overworked Müller did well to deny Lewandowski, but the 18-year-old arrived to execute the coolest of finishes. There was no hesitation, just a clean shot that bulged the back of the net.
— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) March 17, 2019
Davies became the first Canadian to score for Bayern, the first player born after the year 2000, and the youngest since Roque Santa Cruz scored the winner in a 1:0 victory over SpVgg Unterhaching in September 1999.
There was plenty of time to add more gloss to the performance, but the Bavarians slowly wound things down. Six was enough.
Dortmund’s come-from-behind win against Hertha BSC the previous evening meant that the Westphalians would spend a day back at the summit, but Bayern’s thumping win restored the natural order. Both teams are on 57 points, with the Bavarians comfortably ahead on goal difference.
FC Bayern München – 1. FSV Mainz 05 6:0 (3:0)
Lewandowski 3., James 33., 51., 55., Coman 39., Davies 70. / –
FC Bayern: Neuer (c) – Kimmich, Süle, Boateng, Alaba (59. Davies) – Thiago – James (73. Rafinha), Goretzka – T. Müller , Coman (66. Ribéry) – Lewandowski
Mainz: F. Müller – Brosinski, Bell (c), Hack, Niakhaté – Gbamin – Öztunalı (75. Donati), Latza – Onisiwo, Boëtius (46. Kunde) – Mateta (63. Aarón)
Referee: Frank Willenborg (Osnabrück)
Yellow Cards: Süle 72. / –
Red Cards: – / –
Shots: 22 / 7
Passes: 743 / 318
Completed Passes: 663 / 248
Pass Success: 89% / 78%
Possession: 70% / 30%
Fouls: 7 / 7
Offsides: 2 / 1
Corners: 13 / 2