Bayern Shreds Mainz as Mandzukic and Kroos Run Wild

Dennis Grombkowski

FC Bayern Munich went on the road to pick up an emphatic win today, beating FSV Mainz by a 3-0 score-line. Thomas Müller scored late in the first half after a sharp pass from Toni Kroos, and Mario Mandzukic added a second-half brace. Mario Gomez, Arjen Robben and Luiz Gustavo came on for the final 15 minutes, but the outcome was already beyond any doubt at this point.

From the first touch, Bayern was controlling the bulk of possession and testing the Mainz defense. But for a few stretches in the first half, Mainz was still able to threaten - twice, they had decent threats on counter, and Bayern also needed Bastian Schweinsteiger to head away a chance from a corner. This wasn't a big surprise, as Mainz has a good record this year and has played Bayern tough for the past couple years, but it was still enough to worry Bayern supporters in the early going.

Towards the end of the half, though, Bayern started to dominate. The break-through came with 5 minutes before the break, as Toni Kroos made a great play to draw defenders and spring Müller with a pass:

Kroos' move to control with one touch and pass on the second allowed Tommy to time his run perfectly. After that, it was just a question of control and patience to round the 'keeper. Bayern went into the half with a lead and a good feeling about the match.

Any chance that Mainz would stage a comeback was killed within 6 minutes of the restart, as Kroos and David Alaba set up a nice 1-2 passing combo and Alaba then sent in a perfect pass to Mario Mandzukic. And the match was completely killed another 7 minutes later; this time, it was Philipp Lahm with a precise cross that Mandzu planted in the net with a header:

Some other details:

- Mandzukic and Müller will both be in competition for the scoring title this year, and Bayern could easily have 3 or 4 guys in the race for Footballer of the Year. In fact, across the whole league, you could make a case for at least 8 different guys - it's a wide open race.

- Gomez and Robben both got some time on the pitch. But they came on late, after the outcome was already determined, and didn't really have a chance to do much. I'd prefer a little more rotation, because you don't want the best XI to get worn out before March.

- Tomorrow's match between BVB and Leverkusen has big implications. That will determine which team will be Bayern's closest chaser for the near future, and also give Kiessling a chance to get back in front in the scoring race. We'll check back in later in the weekend to see what's developed. Thanks for reading.

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