Big-money signing Mario Goetze finally introduced himself as a Bayern Munich star, inspiring the champions to four second-half goals to see off FSV Mainz 05 and regain top-spot in the Bundesliga.
The former Borussia Dortmund star was introduced at the break by Pep Guardiola after Shawn Parker’s goal on 43 minutes stunned the capacity-crowd at the Allianz-Arena.
But two assists from Goetze, firstly for Arjen Robben then Thomas Mueller, turned the game around inside six minutes with Mario Mandzukic and Mueller rounding off a resilient performance from the European champions.
Without a victory in six league games, head coach Thomas Tuchel travelled to Munich in more hope than expectation and delivered an expected tactical tinker to try and unsettle Guardiola’s men.
Pep was missing the Ballon d’Or candidate Franck Ribery, who suffered an ankle ligament injury, whilst David Alaba dropped to the bench. The effect of their omission was evident as Bayern struggled to create any decent chances against a compact Mainz defence.
The statistics gave the away side two shots off target compared to nothing from the home side inside the first 20 minutes.
After 39 minutes of football, the Bavarians were handed a massive blow when Brazilian defender Dante limped off with a right-ankle injury.
That disrupted the balance of Guardiola’s strategy with Jerome Boateng partnering substitute Alaba temporarily in the heart of defence.
After some erratic performances of late, the former Manchester City defender made another significant blunder, mis-judging the flight of the ball and allowing the away side to take a shock lead in Munich.
German-American forward Parker picked up the through ball and he showed incredible nerves to run through one-on-one with the imposing Neuer, drop his shoulder and slot the ball into the empty net.
Guardiola’s players were whistled off furiously by the home fans and the former Barcelona coach likely gave his squad a rollicking in the dressing room.
Alaba was switched back to left full-back; but the notable change was the introduction of Goetze who added some fervour and guile to the midfield trio with Lahm moving to right-back.
And with 130 seconds of action, the Bayern summer signing carved open the Mainz backline with one sweeping right-foot pass, as Arjen Robben latched on to it, beating the offside trap, and finishing with conviction.
The turnaround was completed within six minutes of the restart as Guardiola’s side lifted the tempo to split the Mainz with defence using just three passes: Goetze backheel to Robben and he lays off Muller who rifles past Wetklo.
Lahm joined the attack within a minute of the second goal and blasted a right-foot effort towards the corner of the net, only for the Mainz keeper to parry wide.
But Mainz slowly creeped back into the game – and unsurprisingly relied on set-pieces for goalscoring chances.
To their credit, in three successive corner-kicks, Mainz produced three varying and different training ground routines with Choupo-Moting heading wide in the last effort from only a few yards out on 67 minutes.
The wasteful finishing from Tuchel’s aces came back to haunt them seconds later with Goetze demonstrating further brilliance inside the box to set up Mandzukic for his fifth goal of the campaign and Bayern’s third of the day.
Although beaten by the Croatian’s finish, Wetklo kept Mainz within two goals of Bayern after a superb one-handed save from Toni Kroos’ technically-exquisite right-foot volley from 15 yards.
But with 10 minutes to go, FC Bayern added a fourth of the afternoon after Nikolce Noveski’s foul on Bastian Schweinsteiger resulted in a penalty kick for the home side.
The industrious Muller stepped up and blasted the ball into the back of the net after shaking off pressure from Robben who wanted to take the kick – and eventually stormed off in frustration.
A hard-fought three points, but about 15 minutes of quick, incisive football from Guardiola’s champions put an end to Mainz’s hopes of a shock win at the Allianz.