Robert Lewandowski brace leads Bayern Munich over Mainz

Associated Press
Friday December 2nd, 2016

BERLIN (AP) — It was far from convincing but Bayern Munich did enough to return to the top of the Bundesliga on goal difference with a 3-1 win at Mainz on Friday.

Robert Lewandowski scored two goals against his favorite Bundesliga opponent with Arjen Robben grabbing the other as Bayern joined promoted Leipzig on 30 points. The defending champions are three goals better off before Leipzig's game at home against Schalke on Saturday.

Bayern suffered an early setback when Jhon Cordoba fired the home side ahead in the fourth minute. The Colombian easily eluded Javi Martinez' weak challenge and fired beyond the despairing Manuel Neuer inside the far post.

But Lewandowski equalized just minutes later. Robben set him up with a simple pass after Philipp Lahm broke up an attack and started a counter.

Mainz continued attacking and was enjoying the lion's share of possession but Robben made the difference. The unmarked Dutch winger headed Bayern in front in the 21st, when Thomas Muller chased down Franck Ribery's wayward cross to produce a fine cross.

Muller had just missed a good chance himself when he only had the goalkeeper to beat. The Germany forward, who scored 32 goals across all competitions for Bayern last season, continues waiting for his first league goal this campaign.

Robben might have scored again shortly afterward but his attempted lob landed wide.

Martinez was having a difficult game. The Spaniard was booked for handball when he stopped Karim Onisiwo from going through on goal before the break. In Bayern's previous game, Martinez used his hand to deny Bayer Leverkusen a late equalizer but that infringement was missed by the match officials.

Robben had another chance midway through the second half when Mainz 'keeper Jonas Lossl snapped the ball from his feet.

Mainz kept pushing hard for an equalizer that never arrived before Lewandowski sealed it with a brilliant free kick in injury time. It was the Poland striker's 11th goal in 12 league games against Mainz, more than he's scored against any other Bundesliga side.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.