Bayern Munich reclaimed top spot in the Bundesliga this evening as they overcame an early scare to defeat Mainz 3-1 at the Opel Arena, with goals from Robert Lewandowski and Arjen Robben proving enough to seal all three points.
Rapid start all Mainz could have asked for - but they were unable to hold on
Colombia forward Jhon Cordoba gave Martin Schmidt's side the start they had dreamed of in the fourth minute, as he latched on to Yunus Malli's through ball to beat the high defensive line and place his shot into the far corner of Manuel Neuer's net.
The home side weren't ahead for long though, as just four minutes later Lewandowski drifted into the box and was found by Robben before the olish striker finished off the move easily to level the scores.
The Bavarians then took the lead in the 21st minute when Thomas Muller's delightful cross was met by Robben at the back post, who stooped low to head past Jonas Lossl and put Carlo Ancelotti's men in the lead.
The points were wrapped up in the 91st minute of the match, when Lewandowski stepped over a free-kick just outside the 18-yard-area and whipped the ball perfectly into the side of the net leaving Lossl helpless.
Opel Arena paid its respects in the wake of Brazilian tragedy
As we have seen throughout the world of football in recent days, the Opel Arena fell silent before kick-off to honour the memory of the 71 people who lost their lives on board the flight that held almost the entire Chapecoense team, who were due to partake in the Copa Sudamericana final against Atletico Nacional.
Bayern have not been themselves as of late, with defeats to FC Rostov and Borussia Dortmund blips on their record whilst the latter allowed RB Leipzig to go three points clear at the top of the Bundesliga until tonight.
It looked as if Ancelotti's side were in for another tough afternoon just four minutes into today's game thanks to some pretty poor defending. Malli won the ball back in the centre of the pitch and played a through ball towards Cordoba, who rolled Mats Hummels all too easily before racing clear and slotting past Neuer to send the home fans into raptures.
Bayern back to winning ways after turning the game around to dominate proceedings
It was the start that Mainz had dreamed of, but fantasies of a repeat of last season's victory at the Allianz Arena were put on hold a short four minutes later. Robben got down the right wing as he does so well before looking up and playing the ball to Lewandowski, who made the most of the ridiculous amount of space he was afforded by finishing expertly into the far corner from close range.
The tables began to turn from this point onwards, and the visitors had a wonderful opportunity to take the lead in the 13th minute via Muller. The 25-year-old hasn't scored since April and a lack of confidence was shown when he was faced with one-versus-one chance, but saw his shot smothered by Lossl from point blank range.
Muller may lack confidence in front of goal at the moment, but he certainly didn't display that in the 21st minute when he recovered Franck Ribery's overhit pass and delivered a pinpoint accurate cross to the back post where Robben lay in wait.
The Dutch winger was never going to miss from mere yards out and simply stooped to place his header past Lossl to put Bayern into the lead.
The remainder of the first half belonged to Bayern, who dominated possession and forced Mainz to sit deep in their own half. Chances were still largely at a premium however, and Robben wasted a good opportunity to make it 3-1 when he blazed over the bar from an acute angle inside the 18-yard-area when we have seen him do so much better from similar situations in the past.
There was a hint of controversy just before the break when Javi Martinez was booked for handball on the edge of the area, and although it was unintentional that did not prevent Cordoba and his team-mates from calling for the Spaniard to be sent off.
The second half began in a rather tense manner, with Mainz reluctant to go all out whilst Bayern remained content to keep possession and protect their one goal lead.
They did have an opportunity to extend that lead 19 minutes into the second period, but Robben's heavy touch allowed Lossl to race out of his goal and smother the ball before the Dutchman could get the crucial second touch.
Bayern made sure that they went back to the top of the Bundesliga in the 91st minute of the match, when Lewandowski bagged his ninth league goal of the season in impressive fashion.
An inviting free-kick from 20 yards out was too much for the Polish forward to pass up, and he confidently wrapped his foot around the ball to send it into the near side of Lossl's net, leaving the Danish goalkeeper stranded in the centre of the goal.
The defeat means that Mainz remain in 9th place, but the gap between them and the top six is beginning to grow bigger and bigger with every passing week and it is looking more unlikely that they will be able to repeat last season's domestic successes.