Pep praises Bayern's Bundesliga record

The Catalanc coached paid tribute to his players for reaching the midway point of the 2014-15 campaign unbeaten – and with a historic tally of 45 points


Pep Guardiola was a proud man after Bayern Munich broke their own points record for the first half of the Bundesliga season by winning at Mainz on Friday night.

The reigning champions fell behind at the Coface Arena, with Elkin Soto breaking the deadlock midway through the first half, but Bastian Schweinsteiger posted an almost immediate reply before Arjen Robben nicked all three points with a last-minute winner.

Guardiola freely admitted that Bayern had struggled during the opening 45 minutes but he was enthused by the way in which his players had upped the intensity after the break in what was their final outing of a hectic 2014.

“We had a few problems in the first half but controlled the second,” the Catalan coach told reporters after the game at Mainz. “We’re happy with the victory.

“But I’m really happy about how we’ve started the season after a World Cup, and having won a lot in the past few years.”

Bayern’s triumph at Mainz leaves them with a record haul of 45 points after 17 rounds of action, with the Bavarians now 14 points clear of second-placed Wolfsburg, who face Koln on Saturday.

Mainz 1-2 Bayern Munich: Robben nets last-gasp winner for record-breaking Bavarians

Elkin Soto opened the scoring at the Coface Arena but Bastian Schweinsteiger levelled matters with a fine free-kick before the visitors’ Dutch winger struck in the dying seconds


Arjen Robben scored a late winner as Bayern Munich beat Mainz 2-1 to break their own Bundesliga points record heading into the winter break.

Pep Guardiola’s side have totally dominated the German top flight this term and passed the previous best of 44 points by the Christmas interval with victory at the Coface Arena on Friday.

Elkin Soto broke the deadlock for the hosts in the 21st minute after both sides had seen goals disallowed for offside.

But that lead lasted just three minutes, as Bastian Schweinsteiger grabbed his first goal of an injury-ravaged campaign with an expertly executed free-kick.

There was little to choose between the sides for much of the encounter, but Robben popped up in the 90th minute to snatch victory.

The result extends Mainz’s winless run to nine matches, while Bayern have now won their last eight Bundesliga matches on the bounce and go into Christmas unbeaten for the second straight season.

With Robert Lewandowski, Xabi Alonso and Mehdi Benatia all missing, Pep Guardiola brought Jerome Boateng, Schweinsteiger and Pierre Hojbjerg into his starting XI, and Bayern looked to make a quick start – Franck Ribery sending an effort just wide inside the opening two minutes.

Mainz looked to have taken a shock lead in the fourth minute when Pablo De Blasis stooped to head in a Daniel Brosinski cross from the right, but the linesman correctly raised his flag for offside.

Gonzalo Jara made a superb recovery challenge having headed the ball to an unmarked Thomas Muller in the penalty area after 12 minutes, and Bayern saw a goal of their own ruled out for offside seven minutes later, with replays showing Robben’s effort to be a much tighter call than the home side’s.

With two goals already chalked off, Bayern could have been forgiven for sending a hopeful glance in the direction of the linesman when Soto sent the ball between goalkeeper Manuel Neuer’s legs from a Shinji Okazaki cross – no such luck this time around.

Bayern were back on terms within three minutes, though, with Schweinsteiger curling in a 25-yard free-kick off the left-hand upright for his first league goal since April.

Guardiola may have been taken aback by Mainz’s sustained threat after conceding the equaliser, but Robben should have done better when his marauding run down the right wing at the beginning of the second half fizzled out.

Yunus Malli showed glimpses of his ability during the opening period, and forced Neuer into an impressive save after the interval.

The 22-year-old was sent one-on-one with the Ballon d’Or nominee, who dived to his right to make a superb one-handed stop.

Boateng pulled the trigger when the ball fell to him some eight yards from goal after 68 minutes, but the defender’s effort was poor and collected comfortably by goalkeeper Loris Karius.

Bayern piled late pressure on the home side and got their reward as Juan Bernat’s left-wing cross was missed by Muller, but not Robben, who took a touch before drilling home from close range to rewrite more history for the Bavarian giants.

Mainz 1-2 Bayern Munich: Robben at the death for record-breaking Bavarians

Elkin Soto opened the scoring at the Coface Arena but Bastian Schweinsteiger levelled matters with a fine free-kick before the visitors’ Dutch winger struck in the dying seconds


Arjen Robben scored a late winner as Bayern Munich beat Mainz 2-1 to break their own Bundesliga points record heading into the winter break.

Pep Guardiola’s side have totally dominated the German top flight this term and passed the previous best of 44 points by the Christmas interval with victory at the Coface Arena on Friday.

Elkin Soto broke the deadlock for the hosts in the 21st minute after both sides had seen goals disallowed for offside.

But that lead lasted just three minutes, as Bastian Schweinsteiger grabbed his first goal of an injury-ravaged campaign with an expertly executed free-kick.

There was little to choose between the sides for much of the encounter, but Robben popped up in the 90th minute to snatch victory.

The result extends Mainz’s winless run to nine matches, while Bayern have now won their last eight Bundesliga matches on the bounce and go into Christmas unbeaten for the second straight season.

With Robert Lewandowski, Xabi Alonso and Mehdi Benatia all missing, Pep Guardiola brought Jerome Boateng, Schweinsteiger and Pierre Hojbjerg into his starting XI, and Bayern looked to make a quick start – Franck Ribery sending an effort just wide inside the opening two minutes.

Mainz looked to have taken a shock lead in the fourth minute when Pablo De Blasis stooped to head in a Daniel Brosinski cross from the right, but the linesman correctly raised his flag for offside.

Gonzalo Jara made a superb recovery challenge having headed the ball to an unmarked Thomas Muller in the penalty area after 12 minutes, and Bayern saw a goal of their own ruled out for offside seven minutes later, with replays showing Robben’s effort to be a much tighter call than the home side’s.

With two goals already chalked off, Bayern could have been forgiven for sending a hopeful glance in the direction of the linesman when Soto sent the ball between goalkeeper Manuel Neuer’s legs from a Shinji Okazaki cross – no such luck this time around.

Bayern were back on terms within three minutes, though, with Schweinsteiger curling in a 25-yard free-kick off the left-hand upright for his first league goal since April.

Guardiola may have been taken aback by Mainz’s sustained threat after conceding the equaliser, but Robben should have done better when his marauding run down the right wing at the beginning of the second half fizzled out.

Yunus Malli showed glimpses of his ability during the opening period, and forced Neuer into an impressive save after the interval.

The 22-year-old was sent one-on-one with the Ballon d’Or nominee, who dived to his right to make a superb one-handed stop.

Boateng pulled the trigger when the ball fell to him some eight yards from goal after 68 minutes, but the defender’s effort was poor and collected comfortably by goalkeeper Loris Karius.

Bayern piled late pressure on the home side and got their reward as Juan Bernat’s left-wing cross was missed by Muller, but not Robben, who took a touch before drilling home from close range to rewrite more history for the Bavarian giants.

Dortmund still Bayern's biggest rivals – Hitzfeld

The retired coach, who had spells in charge of Germany’s two biggest clubs during his career, does not think BVB will remain stuck in a relegation fight for long


Borussia Dortmund remain the biggest rivals to Bayern Munich’s Bundesliga crown, according to former coach of both clubs Ottmar Hitzfeld.

Jurgen Klopp’s men have acquired just 15 points from 16 games and are placed third-from-bottom in Germany’s top flight.

A long injury list and a continued run of poor form have been pointed to as the reasons behind their current plight, but mysteriously the club have fared much better in the Champions League and qualified for the last-16.

Hitzfeld, who coached Dortmund for six years in the 1990s before spending two stints in charge at Bayern, is convinced that BVB’s struggles are only temporary and backed them to bounce back.

“Klopp’s still young, he will get through this current low,” the retired coach told Kolner Express.

“They’ll recover by staying calm and taking responsibility. The most important thing is the players are true to Klopp. Starring for them is a ticket to the international teams. Dortmund remain the most threatening opponent to Bayern in coming years.”

Dortmund face bottom-of-the-Bundesliga Werder Bremen on Saturday in their final game of 2014, with domestic action resuming after the winter break on January 31.

Bayern in no rush to extend Guardiola deal – Rummenigge

The Allianz Arena chief believes the former Barcelona boss is happy with his current terms and talks over a new contract are not imminent


Bayern Munich are in no rush to extend Pep Guardiola’s contract despite their excellent performance, according to CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

The Spaniard spent four years as Barcelona boss until voluntarily stepping down at the end of the 2011-12 season.

He then took six months out of football before being confirmed as the future Allianz Arena coach in January 2013, replacing treble-winning Jupp Heynckes in the summer.

Guardiola promptly won the Bundesliga in record time in his first season, as well as the DFB Pokal, and has guided the Bavarians to an 11-point lead with 16 games played just before the winter break this term.

Despite there being just 18 months left on the coach’s contract, Rummenigge claims that Bayern are not chasing Guardiola down to extend his current deal beyond June 2016.

“We expected there to be some hiccups before Christmas but the leadership under Pep Guardiola has been brilliant,” he told Bild. “We will do everything we can to keep him here.

“He has massive value for us. But his current contract runs for over one and a half years. These are light-years for him. He is not a person who needs a long-term guarantee, or needs to improve his contract.

“It’s not the right moment yet to speak about extending it. When this is the case, we will see what happens.”