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Dublin: 10 °C Friday 21 February, 2020

James Rodríguez hat-trick sees Bayern recover after Champions League exit to Liverpool

Mainz were thumped 6-0 at Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga on Sunday, Niko Kovac’s side climbing back to the top of the table.

Bayern Munich's James Rodriguez
Bayern Munich's James Rodriguez

JAMES RODRIGUEZ SCORED his first Bayern Munich hat-trick as Niko Kovac’s side reclaimed top spot in the Bundesliga with a 6-0 home thrashing of Mainz that showcased the effervescent attacking that was lacking in their Champions League exit to Liverpool.

Borussia Dortmund leapfrogged Bayern with a 3-2 win at Hertha Berlin on Saturday, earned thanks to a late goal from captain Marco Reus, but the champions responded with their 13th win in their last 14 Bundesliga matches.

First-half goals from Robert Lewandowski, James and Kingsley Coman set up a crushing victory that sends Bayern above Dortmund on goal difference, with the leaders set to meet in a potential title decider on April 6 at the Allianz Arena.

James netted twice more after the break to claim the match ball before Alphonso Davies recorded his first Bundesliga goal, the champions having scored 17 times in their last three league games.

Bayern made a blistering start and led inside three minutes, Lewandowski steering home a near-post volley from David Alaba’s left-wing cross.

Bavaria Munich - FSV Mainz 05 The Colombian international scored his first Bayern hat-trick on Sunday evening. Source: DPA/PA Images

The early onslaught continued with Coman rattling the crossbar and James forcing an excellent save from goalkeeper Florian Muller with a powerful low drive.

Bayern’s inevitable second goal arrived in the 33rd minute, Joshua Kimmich’s ball into the box chested down superbly by Leon Goretzka with James sliding home a fine finish.

And it was 3-0 before the break, Mainz losing the ball on halfway with Goretzka sending Coman clear, the winger cutting inside off the left to whip a superb strike across the helpless Muller.

Mainz could not stem the tide after the interval either, James finding the bottom-left corner with a curling 20-yard effort in the 51st minute before then securing his treble with a sublime chip.

Bayern made it back-to-back 6-0 home wins in the league by completing the scoring in the 70th minute. Muller denied Lewandowski but he was unable to stop teenager Davies smashing in the rebound.

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