BERLIN: In-form striker Mario Mandzukic scored twice to steer Bayern Munich to a 3-0 victory at Mainz 05 yesterday and increase their runaway lead at the top of the Bundesliga to an enormous 14 points.
Bundesliga top scorer Mandzukic, who also scored one goal and set up another last week, struck twice in seven minutes early in the second half to take his league goal tally to 14 as Bayern won their 16th out of 20 games so far.
Thomas Mueller had given the visitors a 40th minute lead against the run of play with his 11th goal of the season.
Bayern, who set a new record after winning nine of their 10 away games this season without conceding a goal, are on 51 points with second-placed Bayer Leverkusen, on 37, facing champions Borussia Dortmund today.
Schalke 04 new signing Michel Bastos scored on his debut but it was not enough as the Champions League last 16 qualifiers slumped to a 2-1 defeat against bottom-placed Greuther Fuerth thanks to Nikola Djurdjic’s last-gasp goal.
Schalke are stuck in sixth place while Fuerth celebrated their second win this season, their first success dating back to August.
Mainz, in fifth on 30 points, were the livelier side at the start as they took the sting out of Bayern’s game with incessant pressure and quick breaks, coming close with Shawn Parker and Yunus Malli in the first half.
It took a quick move from the visitors themselves to take the lead when Mueller beat the offside trap after chasing down a fine Toni Kroos pass and rounding keeper Christian Wetklo to slot in from a tight angle.
Mandzukic, again picked to start ahead of Mario Gomez, added Bayern’s second five minutes after the restart when he tapped in a low David Alaba cross following the Austrian’s run down the left.
With Mainz now playing catch-up, Bayern had far more space available and it did not take long before they made it count.
Mueller sent captain Philipp Lahm through on the right and his cross was met by Mandzukic at the far post to head in Bayern’s third goal of the afternoon in the 57th.
Fortuna Duesseldorf stunned VfB Stuttgart 3-1 with two goals from Australian Robbie Kruse to move up to 13th place and away from the drop zone while Hoffenheim lifted themselves into the relegation playoff spot courtesy of a 2-1 win over Freiburg.
Relegation-threatened Augsburg continued their good start to the year, remaining undefeated for the third straight game with a 1-1 draw at VfL Wolfsburg.