Nine points in three matches

Posted by Susie Schaaf

Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery both pulled out of training on Friday to sit out the match against Mainz. In recent times this may have been a cause for concern, but on Saturday it was barely a blip on the radar as Xherdan Shaqiri took Franck's place on the left, Thomas Mueller featured at Arjen's right wing spot and Toni Kroos once again as playmaker in a comfortable 3-1 win.

101 seconds was all it took for Bayern to get on the board as Mario Mandzukic slotted home Mueller's pass across the face of goal. Ten minutes later, Bastian Schweinstieger doubled the score, heading home a cross by Holger Badstuber. Mainz pulled one back in the 59th minute as Adam Szalai scored a penalty after a late challenge by Dante before Toni Kroos volleyed in the third for Bayern from a Javi Martinez cross in the dying seconds.

Jupp Heynckes said "We started very well and played excellent football in the first half-hour." And yes, I concur, the first 30 minutes were great. The rest of the match? Not so much. While I was initially puzzled with Thomas Tuchel's two first-half substitutions, the inclusion of Szalai and Soto befuddled Bayern's defense, unable to pick up Mainz' switch to 4-4-2.

Heynckes countered the onslaught in the 75th minute bringing on Javi Martinez for Xherdan Shaqiri. A cagey move by the Bayern trainer -- Javi took the match tempo down a couple of notches, losing the frantic pace that Mainz had forced die Roten into.

Claudio Pizarro's inclusion at the last minute saw the Peruvian international tie the record for Bundesliga appearances by a non-German player (336).

Yes, Bayern did suffer a bit of the "FIFA virus" (see: Real Madrid), but was ultimately able to overcome the loss of two starting midfielders. Nine points in three matches -- with a +9 goal differential -- sees the Bavarians in their rightful place atop the Bundesliga table. But a massive week looms ahead as Munich opens Champions League group play against Villareal on Wednesday and then travels to Gelsenkirchen on Saturday for a tasty match against Schalke 04.

Odds and ends:

Props to the defense for getting back quickly after Toni's miss in the 25th minute. Definitely saved some blushes there.

How German does Holger Badstuber look when he's arguing a call?

Shaqiri went "bend it like Becks" style with his free kick in the 49th minute.

Goose's yellow card was harsh. Looked like he got the ball first.

Noveski definitely had a hand ball in the box. Referee Markus Schmidt missed that one.

Javi Martinez. 15 minutes. 31 passes. 100% completion rating. I like it!

Neuer's running up the field will always give me a little heart attack. But, I love that about him.

You should follow Susie on Twitter @fussballsusie.

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