By 90Min
March 17, 2019

Bayern Munich returned to the top of the Bundesliga after a convincing win over strugglers Mainz, with a James Rodriguez hat-trick helping the Bavarians bounce back from their Champions League exit in the week

The hosts opened the scoring after just three minutes thanks to Robert Lewandowski's 30th goal of the season with an outstanding volley, following a brilliant near-post cross from David Alaba.

Bayern doubled their lead in the 35th minute with a lovely move involving a superb chested lay-off from Leon Goretzka, which was confidently dispatched by Rodriguez with a low drive into the bottom corner. Kingsley Coman's brilliant run and fantastic outside of the box finish wrapped the game up for the defending champions before half time.

Rodriguez grabbed his second just after half time after cutting inside to beat two Mainz defenders, before firing home from 20 yards out. The Colombian superstar sealed his hat-trick before the hour mark with a cheeky dink over the Mainz goalkeeper.

18-year-old Alphonso Davies' first goal for Bayern completed the scoring for Niko Kovac's side, who now lead Borussia Dortmund in the title race on goal difference.

Sebastian Widmann/GettyImages

Check out 90min's breakdown of the game below.


BAYERN MUNICH


Key Talking Point


Niko Kovac's side faced heavy criticism from the German press following their midweek Champions League exit against Liverpool, and the under-fire Croatian manager wasn't helped by his star striker Lewandowski, who criticised his boss for his defensive tactics in the tie.

Lars Baron/GettyImages

The Bavarians needed to respond, and although a win against a mediocre Mainz team is unlikely to silence the critics, the dominant nature of this performance should bring some confidence back to the Allianz Arena.

The Bundesliga holders were back to their best against a Mainz side who offered very little in retaliation, and if anything were unlucky not to score more than the six they bagged themselves.

Full of attacking intent, there was only ever going to be one winner here, with the Bavarians looking as if they had a point to prove. It became apparent very early on that the question here was not would Bayern claim the victory, but by how much would they improve their goal difference.


Player Ratings


Starting XI: Neuer (6); Kimmich (7), Boateng (7), Sule (8), Alaba (7); Thiago (7), Goretzka (7); Muller (7), Rodriguez (9), Coman (8); Lewandowski (7).

Substitutes: Davies (7), Rafinha (6), Ribery (6)


Star Man - James Rodriguez


Mainz simply could not handle the Colombian midfielder, who scored three superb goals in a dominant display.

The 2014 World Cup Golden Boot winner didn't just bring goals to his team in this match, with the 27-year-old showing off brilliant passing and positive forward runs that Kovac's side so desperately missed during their defeat to Liverpool. The Colombian was given a well-deserved standing ovation before his 73rd minute substitution.

Bayern Munich have the option to buy James Rodriguez from Real Madrid on a permanent deal in the summer for £42m, and with performances like this, that looks to be an absolute steal.


Looking Ahead


Following next week's international break, Bayern travel to face 11th placed Freiburg in the Bundesliga, before their DFB Cup quarter final tie against second division side Heidenheim.

The big date for your diary come on 6 April, as the two sides level on points at the top meet at the Allianz Arena, with Bayern taking on Borussia Dortmund in Der Klassiker.

Mainz meanwhile will visit Werder Bremen in two weeks, before hosting Freiburg six days later.

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HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)