Bayern Munich secured three consecutive wins for the first time in over a month after a narrow 2-1 success over 1. FSV Mainz 05.
Bayern Munich returned to second spot on the Bundesliga table, albeit temporarily, after edging out Mainz 2-1 in a fiercely contested battle at the Coface Arena. The Bavarians struggled to dominate their opposition throughout the entirety of the game with chances only coming at a premium.
Mainz, who had conceded only eight goals in eight matches prior to the game, stood resolutely in defence, although Bayern had a goal disallowed around the half-hour mark. But, Leon Goretzka eventually broke the deadlock for the visitors, latching on to a low cross from Joshua Kimmich to score his second goal for Bayern.
The hosts were quick to reply, however, needing only two second-half minutes to restore parity through Jean-Paul Boetius as the game went wide open once again. And as you would normally expect, Bayern turned on the gears in the final half-hour, pinning Mainz back in their own half with a flurry of attacking moves.
Die Roten eventually restored their lead when Thiago Alcantara scored from an excellent cross from Robert Lewandowski to seal all three points for his side. The defending champions had a few more opportunities to put the game to bed but they failed to make use of their chances, most notably when Niklas Sule was one-on-one with the keeper but he couldn’t produce the finish.
— OptaFranz (@OptaFranz) October 27, 2018
However, Bayern will be happy with the three points nonetheless, especially with league leaders Borussia Dortmund dropping a couple of points against Hertha Berlin. In the meantime, The Hard Tackle takes a look at how Niko Kovac’s men fared against Mainz.
Manuel Neuer: 6.5/10
It was another quiet evening for Manuel Neuer, who wasn’t forced to make any saves throughout the game. He did, however, fail to prevent Jean-Paul Boetius’ strike early in the second half although, in truth, he had no chance from such close range.
Joshua Kimmich: 8/10
An excellent display from the German international, who essentially parked himself in the opposition half for large parts of the game. Kimmich delivered a string of dangerous crosses and also produced a sensational effort in the first half, which unfortunately hit the bar.
He provided the assist for Gorezka’s opener when his low-cross found the midfielder inside the box. Aside from that, he also combined well with Thomas Muller on the right-flank and kept the Mainz defenders occupied. However, Kimmich was defensively caught out when he failed to mark Jean-Paul Boetius’ as Mainz scored the equaliser early in the second half.
Jerome Boateng: 7/10
A solid defensive display from Boateng, who was deputising for the injured Mats Hummels. Boateng impressed in what can be deemed as a rare start, making a couple of important tackles while making the most number of interceptions on the pitch.
Niklas Sule: 7.5/10
Another comprehensive performance from the former Hoffenheim prodigy, whose domineering display in the backline restricted Jean-Philippe Mateta from making any inroads in the final third. He fluffed a huge opportunity to score Bayern’s third later in the second half when he was one-on-one with the goalkeeper. But, he failed to produce the finish.
David Alaba: 7/10
A solid comeback from David Alaba, who was calm while dealing with the threat of Levin Oztunali on the left flank. Although he didn’t move forward as much as he would have liked, his sensation long-ball to Joshua Kimmich initiated Bayern’s opener while he also made a couple of neat tackles late on.
Javi Martinez: 8.5/10
Martinez proved his worth once again by dominating the Mainz midfield with some excellent passing in a well-rounded performance. The Spaniard won five aerial duels, the most by any Bayern player on the pitch while his excellent long-range effort almost resulted in Bayern’s third goal of the night.
Furthermore, his composure and security with the ball allowed the likes of Leon Goretzka and Thiago Alcantara to become much more expressive in the final third.
Thomas Muller: 7.5/10
Although he wasn’t involved in the attack as much as he would have liked, Muller did a pretty good job in terms of his work rate in the final third. As you would normally expect from the German international, he made a host of clever runs in the attacking channels, which kept the Mainz defenders occupied, ultimately offering more freedom to his teammates in the final third.
Leon Goretzka: 8/10
Produced one of the best performances for his new club as he looked much more expressive than his recent games for Bayern this season. Goretzka conjured up an incredible volleyed finish to score the opener just six minutes before half-time, which was definitely the highlight of the game.
However, he picked up a knock in the second half and was ideally replaced by Renato Sanches in the 55th minute.
Thiago Alcantara: 9/10
It was yet another convincing display from Thiago Alcantara, who was arguably the best player of the game. The Spaniard scored the all-important winner in the second half to collect all three points for his side.
Aside from that, he was key to Bayern retaining heaps of possession throughout the game while he also made a couple of decent tackles, as well as a few driving, runs into the Mainz backline. A truly masterful display from the Barcelona academy product.
Serge Gnabry: 7/10
With both Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery missing from the starting lineup, Serge Gnabry had a golden opportunity to showcase his qualities without being overshadowed by the sheer quality of the said attackers. But, he failed to make full use of that opportunity, appearing anonymous, at times, even though he played a key role to play in Thiago’s goal in the first half, which was eventually disallowed via the Video Assistant Referee.
Robert Lewandowski: 9/10
Lewandowski shone throughout the game thanks to a hard-working performance in the final third. The Polish international, despite failing to score a goal, appeared very inventive as he linked with up his teammates and created a plethora of clear-cut chances.
He notably provided the assist for Leon Goretzka’s opener in the first-half before creating yet another golden opportunity in the second half to free Niklas Sule, leaving the Mainz defence completely exposed in the process.
Renato Sanches: 8/10
Made a positive impact on the game after replacing Goretzka just five minutes before the hour-mark. Sanches looked menacing whenever he was on the ball. He was the one who made the key interception to strip the ball out of Mainz to initiate Bayern’s second of the night.
Franck Ribery: 7/10
Made his highly-awaited return when he replaced Gnabry in the 57th minute. He kept the pressure on the Mainz defence and pinned them down in their own half.
Came on for Muller late in the game as Niko Kovac opted to have more defensive bodies in order to hold onto to their slender one-goal lead.