Stadion am Bruchweg, Mainz, February 19 - FC Bayern München moved up to second spot in the Bundesliga with a comfortable 3-1 away victory against 1.FSV Mainz 05.
The "carnival-city club" were looking for a double over the reigning league champions, having already beaten the Reds in Munich during the Oktoberfest. But early goals in each half set the Bavarians on the road to a facile away success.
Firstly, a deep Franck Ribery cross picked out fellow wide man Arjen Robben in space at the back post. The "Flying Dutchman" was allowed the freedom of Mainz to head back into the goalmouth, where Bastian Schweinsteiger nodded home the opener after 9 minutes.
Mainz, surprise early-season league-leaders, were dangerous going forward with Leverkusen-bound striker Andre Schürrle always a threat. He was thwarted by Bayern keeper Thomas Kraft on numerous occasions and also saw a lob float agonisingly past the post just before the half hour mark.
Kraft incurred a slight concussion in a first-half collision and was replaced by veteran goalkeeper Hans-Jörg Butt (36) at the break.
The visitors doubled the lead when German international Thomas Müller slotted home five minutes into the second half. FCB had let a 2-0 goal lead slip in their last away fixture in Cologne but were in no mood for a repeat as top scorer Mario Gomez sealed the deal, applying the finishing touch to a fine counter-attacking move on 77 minutes.
The hosts finally grabbed the consolation goal their attacking play deserved when Tunisian Sami Allagui headed home on 85 minutes. Still looking fragile in defence, it came as little surprise that the double-winners failed to keep a clean sheet. The unproven combination of Holger Badstuber and Anatoliy Tymoshchuk were repeatedly left exposed by the fleet-footed Mainz forwards. The Ukrainian later teamed up with new Brazilian signing Luiz Gustavo in another experimental centre-half pairing after Badstuber was replaced following a sub-par performance.
On this defensive form it's hard to see FCB keeping a clean sheet in the San Siro on Wednesday. Last year's beaten finalists seek revenge against an Inter Milan side seemingly rejuvenated under new Brazilian coach Leonardo. Bayern look capable of scoring goals but still look very disjointed at the back and that soft "underbelly" could be exposed by the Champions League holders' more clinical finishing skills.
Bayern return home to host first place Dortmund Saturday at the Allianz Arena. Kickoff at 18:30.