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Feb 4, 2013

Robben frustrated by Bayern 'dream duo'

As Bayern Munich continue to dominate the Bundesliga, the partnership of Mario Mandzukic and Thomas Muller is reaching new heights with the duo scoring the goals in Bayern's 3-0 over Mainz at the weekend.

• Blog: Mainz eventually crumble

German football magazine kicker hailed "the new dream duo" in a headline in Monday's edition as the pair continue to take the league by storm.

The partnership of Mandzukic, 26, and 23-year-old Muller has now produced 25 goals after only 20 league games, making it the most prolific Bayern partnership since 1976 when Gerd Muller and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge spread out 30 goals between them.

Croatia international Mandzukic now tops the Bundesliga scoring chart with 14 goals, and Germany international Muller is only three behind. His 11 goals make him the second most productive midfielder in Bundesliga, only one goal behind Eintracht Frankfurt's Alex Meier.

"That guy always tops me," a smiling Muller said after the game, referencing the Mandzukic brace that followed his own opening goal four minutes from half-time. Muller has also claimed ten assists in the Bundesliga so far this term, more than anyone else.

"You never know what happens next with him," Bayern skipper Lahm said. "He is a player who is not to be seen for 30 minutes, but is there when needed."

Bayern general manager Matthias Sammer also praised the in-form winger: "Muller masters the change between ease and concentration. Moreover he has a world-class finish."

The three points at Mainz took Bayern 12 clear at the top of Bundesliga table. With 51 points and a goal difference of plus 44 Bayern have set another Bundesliga record after 20 games. The question is no longer if Bayern will win the league but when, and which records they can break in doing so.

But it was not all sunshine at the weekend. Muller and Mandzukic, who have shared all seven of Bayern's Bundesliga goals in 2013 between them, do not make life easy for Mario Gomez and Arjen Robben.

That pair - who have not started a game together this season - were both brought on as 76th-minute substitutes for Mandzukic and Franck Ribery against Mainz. Robben was later seen making his post-match exit from the changing rooms before the rest of his team-mates.

"Arjen is not a person who can hide his emotions," Bayern boss Jupp Heynckes said. "But I would have not been pleased if I had not played."

Robben was also supported by Sammer, who said: "Arjen is Arjen. That has to stay like this. You don't have to overstate it. We do not accept when somebody puts his personal interests at the centre of attention, but that is not the case here."

Sammer, who last week had sent a warning to Robben and Gomez, also pointed towards the media, saying: "Both have done nothing wrong."

Speaking to Sky, Muller did not want to hear a word about the rivalry: "There is no rivalry between Robben and Muller or something else. We are one team, we have a lot of options in our attacking formation."

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