Bayern widens lead at top to 14 points
Bayern Munich continued its seemingly unstoppable march toward the Bundesliga title with a convincing 3-0 win at Mainz on Saturday afternoon.
A goal from Thomas Muller and a Mario Mandzukic brace earned the visitors three points to extend their advantage at the top of the table to 14 points over Bayer Leverkusen, who face Borussia Dortmund on Sunday.
Mainz held its own until just before halftime but then collapsed in the second period as Mandzukic showed why he is keeping Mario Gomez on the Bayern bench.
The hosts were courageous and quick to attack Bayern each time they gained possession.
Bayern was therefore prevented from getting its usual flowing football together as a Mainz player was snapping at the heels of Franck Ribery, Muller and Bastian Schweinsteiger whenever they gained possession.
Bayern took the lead with its first real chance of the game, though, with Muller taking the ball round Christian Wetklo and slotting into an open goal in the 41st minute.
The goal changed the complexion of the game, with Mainz no longer able to just try to frustrate Bayern. Instead, Mainz needed to do more attacking of its own, and this inevitably left it open to conceding.
And against a side in the form Bayern are in this season, that was deadly.
Mandzukic doubled Bayern's lead with their first counterattack, played to perfection with David Alaba, Ribery and Toni Kroos all involved in setting up the Croatian, who provided a finish with the outside of his boot.
He then became the Bundesliga's top scorer with his 14th of the season in the 57th minute as he headed in Philipp Lahm's cross at the far post.
Arjen Robben and Gomez were both introduced by Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes, who was starting to turn his attention toward the Champions League last-16 tie with Arsenal.
And they were able to take it easy without running any risks as they picked up yet another win to confirm their dominance of German football this season.
Elsewhere Saturday, Srdjan Lakic marked his Eintracht Frankfurt debut with two goals to inspire Armin Veh's side to a 2-0 win in Hamburg.
Lakic, who arrived in Frankfurt on loan from Wolfsburg just prior to the transfer deadline, grabbed a first-half brace as the Eagles extended their advantage over fifth-placed Mainz to six points and denied Hamburg a place in the top six for the first time this season.
Greuther Furth picked up only its second win of the season with a shock 2-1 victory at Schalke thanks to a last-gasp goal from Nikola Djurdjic.
Michel Bastos marked his Schalke debut with a goal, but Felix Klaus leveled before Djurdjic scored a dramatic late winner for Mike Buskens' men.
Greuther remains at the foot of the table but is just two points behind Augsburg, who were held 1-1 by Wolfsburg.
Jan Moravek earned the visitors a point with a 25th-minute equalizer, two minutes after Naldo had put the Wolves ahead.
Hoffenheim picked up its first win under new coach Marco Kurz with a 2-1 result over Freiburg.
Kevin Volland was on target twice, after Max Kruse had put Freiburg in front, to earn his side a much-needed win that lifts it back out of the bottom two and above Augsburg.
Fortuna Dusseldorf secured a 3-1 win over Stuttgart, which has lost four Bundesliga games in a row.
Robbie Kruse put Dusseldorf in control of the game with a brace before Christian Gentner brought Stuttgart back into the running.
Oliver Fink then sealed victory for Fortuna, which edges up to within a point of its mid-table opponents.
Information from Press Association was used in this report.