Bayern Munich closer to title after win over Mainz, coach Heynckes says
Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes said his side took a significant step towards the Bundesliga title after their 3-0 win at Mainz 05 opened up a 14-point lead at the top of the table.
Croatia striker Mario Mandzukic scored twice as Bayern made their superior possession count at fifth-placed Mainz.
"We prepared extremely thoroughly, that was a very important victory on the road to the title," said Heynckes, after his side picked up their 16th win from 20 league matches.
Second-placed Bayer Leverkusen host defending champions and third-placed Borussia Dortmund overnight.
Midfielder Thomas Mueller gave Bayern a first-half lead before Mandzukic showed why he is keeping German international Mario Gomez on the Bayern bench with a header and shot to become the league's top scorer with 14 goals from 18 games.
After drilling home his shot on 50 minutes, after good work by left-back David Alaba and France winger Franck Ribery, Mandzukic headed home Philipp Lahm's cross seven minutes later as the Croat claimed his fifth goal in three games.
"We knew it wouldn't be easy and we prepared very thoroughly," added Heynckes after Bayern lost two of their last three trips to Mainz's Coface Arena.
"The team put our plan into action really well."
Mueller said his opening goal, just before the half-time break, had settled a few nerves.
"We're pleased about winning a difficult away game in Mainz, but we knew it was going to be hard work," said the Germany star, who is in the squad to play France on Wednesday in Paris. "In the first half, Mainz were just what you expect of them at home, plenty of bite, very aggressive and tricky.
"Scoring the opening goal was definitely important.
"We were on hand when Mainz gave us the chance. We set off well into the second half, and that was basically that. It was a good day."
After his two goals put him top of the goal-scoring charts, Mandzukic said he was just pleased to pick up three more points.
"We're doing what we did so well in the first half of the season. We're playing as a team, we go out on to the field and fight, and we know we have the quality," he said. "The important thing is that each man is there for the others. I think that sets us apart."