Bayern Munich, German Bundesliga, Leagues, Story

Bayern moved 18 points clear atop the Bundesliga with a resolute win at Mainz, thanks to exquisite goals from Franck Ribery and James Rodriguez.

MAINZ — After cruising 18 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga with a 2-0 win in Mainz, Jupp Heynckes promised to rotate in coming weeks to prime Treble-seeking Bayern Munich for another crack at winning the Champions League.

First-half goals from Franck Ribery and James Rodriguez set Bayern on their way to a routine 2-0 success and their 10th consecutive win in all competitions.

After a quiet opening half hour, Ribery broke the deadlock with a thunderous volleyed strike from the edge of the box after 33 minutes, before Colombia international James doubled the lead with a composed control and finish a minute before the break.

“I had to rotate more than I wanted today as Javi Martinez suffered a minor injury in training on Friday and Arturo Vidal picked up a stomach bug,” Heynckes said at the postmatch news conference.

“However, I want all my players to get playing time as they all work brilliantly throughout the week in training. That way when the DFB Pokal and Champions League games come around, not only is there competition for places but they are all top fit.”

Jupp Heynckes ahead of Bayern Munich's Bundesliga win against Mainz.
Jupp Heynckes has led Bayern Munich to the brink of a sixth successive Bundesliga title.

Bayern travel to third division Paderborn for a quarterfinal DFB Pokal tie on Tuesday, before facing Schalke in Munich next Saturday.

But Heynckes did rue his side’s profligacy in front of goal in the second half, failing to kill the game off.

He said: “We played very well in the first half and went into a 2-0 lead. We also began the second half well and had a host of chances to increase our lead which we didn’t take. We allowed Mainz back into the game as we were careless and weren’t alert enough.

“On the whole though, it was a deserved win but I compliment Mainz on their performance. These are never easy games and you have to realise that teams involved in a relegation battle tend to raise their game against FC Bayern.”

Mark Lovell covers Bayern Munich for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @LovellLowdown.

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