Bayern Munich round out the Hinrunde with an exciting 2-1 victory against Mainz 05 in Coface Arena. Arjen Robben scored the winner right at the death to increase Bayern's point total to 45 before the winter break.
Mainz came out strong in the first half of the match and consistently looked dangerous on the break. Four minutes in Pablo De Blasis headed a cross from Daniel Brosinski past Manuel Neuer, but it was (rightfully!) ruled offside. Woo, buddy. Ribery, Robben and Müller responded with runs in to the box, but the score remained level.
I have - admittedly - been absent for the majority of Bayern matches as of late, but Dante and Højbjerg did not start out the night on the right foot. Both made clumsy challenges and Højbjerg was especially lucky to not be shown a card. Is this a trend now? Get it together, dudes.
Poor defending - of course - led to Mainz opening the scoring. Okazaki went unmarked out on the right and played a pass to Elkin Soto, who squeezed his shot straight through the legs of Neuer. This was only the fourth goal Bayern have conceded all season, but what an annoying way to do it. If you can stomach it, HERE is our lord and savior getting nutmegged. If I could use the weepy emoji here, trust me, I would.
Bayern responded immediately, earning a free kick not even two minutes later. Bastian Schweinsteiger curled his shot over the wall and past Loris Karius, making the score level once again. (WATCH - Schweinsteiger equalizes with a brilliant free kick). How many goals has the boss scored from free kicks this season?
Mainz have spent most of the season in the bottom half of the table, but they showed up today to give Bayern a game. Bernat and Rafinha left spaces open to be exploited and Bayern's possession came to an end at the halfway line. Mainz came close to a goal when Højbjerg (again!) failed to stop a run from Malli. I firmly believe that Højbjerg is bae, so I am going to assume that this is not the real Pierre. The real Pierre-Emile Højbjerg went home to Denmark a week early and is stuffing his face with Christmas cookies and eggnog.
In the 49th minute Manuel Neuer made up for his nutmeg from earlier with a great save on a shot from Soto. How Soto managed to break free and face Neuer one-on-one, I have no idea and I don't think our defense does either.
No surprises here, but Bayern controlled possession for the entirety of the second half, but either side could have scored. Robben made a few brilliant runs and his dribbling was on fleek as usual, but Mainz looked just as good. With fifteen minutes left in the match, the hosts caught Bayern on the break, but Bernat - of all people - was there to put an end to it. Is it winter break yet?
Claudio Pizarro came on for Mario Götze, an uneven exchange as far as the level of attractiveness goes. I have no idea how this portion of the match went, I was too busy scrolling through pizza puns on Twitter. Other than that, the second half was largely uneventful - UNTIL! Robben scored in the 90th minute. Bernat connected with Müller and Robben slid in to score.
We get three points and a nice long winter break. Now go drink some mulled wine and we'll see you next year.