AAP Soccer

Bayern Munich crush Mainz to top league

By AAP Newswire

A hat-trick from James Rodriguez has helped Bayern Munich bounce back from midweek Champions League elimination with a 6-0 thrashing of Mainz that returned them to the top of the German Bundesliga.

While Liverpool ended Bayern's continental interest on Wednesday, mid-table Mainz never looked capable of causing an upset in Munich on Sunday.

First half goals from Robert Lewandowski, James and Kingsley Coman had Bayern cruising.

James added another two early in the second half before Canadian teenager Alphonso Davies scored his first for the club to send Bayern into the international break on a high.

Bayern have a seven-goal advantage over Borussia Dortmund, who are level on points with the six-time reigning champions after a dramatic 3-2 win at Hertha Berlin on Saturday.

"We definitely wanted to play good game today and planned a lot in light of Wednesday," Bayern's Thomas Mueller told Sky.

"Today we dominated from the beginning."

Mainz's Stefan Bell called the result "a terrible start which is the worst thing that can happen here".

"At the end the margin was absolutely deserved," he said.

Elsewhere, Eintracht Frankfurt defeated bottom club Nuremberg 1-0 and Werder Bremen triumphed 3-1 away to Bayer Leverkusen to boost their respective European hopes.

There are eight games remaining in the season with Bayern's home match with Dortmund on April 6 looking crucial in the title race.

Frankfurt comprehensively outplayed Nuremberg but found the net only through Martin Hinteregger. They remain fifth but are now one point behind Borussia Moenchengladbach in the last Champions League spot.

Hinteregger netted from Filip Kostic's 31st minute cross.

"We have become a top team but the others are not sleeping," Frankfurt coach Adi Huettler said.

"It will be a hard fight (to finish fourth). We are in a good place and will give everything until the end."

Frankfurt keeper Kevin Trapp saved superbly from Hanno Behrens as Nuremberg threatened a late robbery but they remain last, winless in 20 and seven points adrift of VfB Stuttgart in the play-off place.

Bremen produced a clinical first half as goals from Max Kruse and Milot Rashica set up victory in Leverkusen.

Leon Bailey's stunning free kick 15 minutes from time sparked a frantic finale but Kruse's injury-time second sealed it.

Leverkusen stay sixth and in the final Europa League berth on 42 points, four behind Eintracht, while Bremen are eighth on 39 as they chase a Europa League slot.

"You have to be there from the first minute and we were not," Leverkusen's Lars Bender said, while teammate Kevin Volland admitted the side "would not have deserved to win because of the first half".