On a winter’s night in Munich the race for the German title took an exciting twist.
Supposed ‘champions-elect’ Bayern Munich saw their lead at the top cut to only five points. Coming into this one the Bavarian side held a 100% home record in all competitons, and according to the script, that was scheduled to continue. Mainz, however, came to the Allianz Arena with a gameplan and defended strongly throughout whilst always possessing a threat on the counter-attack. Goals in either half for Mainz, including a 86th minute strike from Cordoba, sandwiched between an Arjen Robben goal saw the defending champions sink to a shock defeat.
This night could yet turn out to be a pivotal one in the title race with Dortmund taking full advantage of Bayern’s slip-up, winning 2-0 away on a dodgy pitch in Darmstadt. A mouth watering showdown between the two now lies in wait this Saturday at Signal Iduna Park; were Dortmund will hope to put a further dent in Bayern’s title defence and set up a swashbuckling finish to the season.
Elsewhere around the Bundesliga, this season’s surprise package Hertha Berlin remain in 3rd place thanks to a 2-0 win over Frankfurt at the Olympiastadion; whilst strugglers Bremen stunned Bayern Leverkusen 4-1 at the Bay Arena.
Over in Italy, Juventus saw off an inspired Inter on penalties after a 3-3 aggregate scorline, setting up a match-up with AC Milan in the Coppa Italia final.