Niko Kovac was unimpressed with Bayern Munich's lack of energy despite the Bundesliga champions thumping Mainz 6-1.

Jean-Paul Boetius silenced the Allianz Arena on Saturday with the opening goal in the sixth minute.

New arrivals Philippe Coutinho and Ivan Perisic were handed their first starts and the Croatia international set up Benjamin Pavard for the equaliser half an hour after Mainz's opener.

David Alaba's stunner put Bayern in front, then Perisic scored a header before Kingsley Coman, Robert Lewandowski and substitute Alphonso Davies secured an ultimately emphatic victory.

Kovac, though, was criticial of Bayern's start despite collecting a first home win of the season after being held by Hertha Berlin in their opener.

"We were too lethargic until the first cooling break," Kovac told Bayern's official club website.

"We didn't find a reply to Mainz's aggression, we thought it would be easy. Then our passing was quicker, we lured our opponents into the centre and had good moves on the wings.

"David Alaba's goal before the break was crucial. It was over when we scored our fourth goal. We go into the two-week international break happy."

Alaba's brilliant free-kick proved a key moment in the game and the Austria international agreed with Kovac's assessment of the game.

"We struggled to get into the game in the first 20 minutes; we weren't aggressive enough, we weren't quick enough," Alaba added.

"We also made a few mistakes, it's difficult then. Mainz did a very good job. We got a grip after the first cooling break.

"I'm proud to be part of this team. Everyone hits the gas in training, you can see everyone loves football. And when we put it into practice as a unit at the weekend it's great of course."

The international break offers a chance for Mainz to regroup, with Sandro Schwarz's side bottom of the table having conceded 12 goals in three games, scoring only twice.

"There's no point lamenting and creating unrest, not for us, not for the club," said Mainz defender Alexander Hack. "We must keep going, we now have two weeks to question things and to work."

David Alaba scored a superb free-kick as Benjamin Pavard and Ivan Perisic opened their Bayern Munich accounts in a 6-1 Bundesliga win over Mainz.

Mainz were thrashed 6-0 in the corresponding fixture last season, and although Jean-Paul Boetius' sixth-minute header put them ahead at Allianz Arena, they were again dismantled.

Bayern were in a ruthless mood, and after Perisic atoned for a poor miss by teeing up Pavard's equaliser, Alaba's pinpoint strike put Niko Kovac's side in control.

Perisic marked his full debut with a powerful header shortly after the restart, with Kingsley Coman then prodding in from a corner.

In-form Robert Lewandowski got in on the act with 12 minutes remaining, with substitute Alphonso Davies then adding further gloss to an emphatic victory.

Bayern started well, but it was the visitors who took the lead when Boetius nodded home from Ronael Pierre-Gabriel's cross.

Perisic could have grabbed an equaliser, only to slice into the side netting when one-on-one with Florian Muller, who then made an exceptional save to prevent Danny Latza scoring an own goal.

Muller should have done better with Bayern's leveller a minute later, but he misjudged Pavard's volley.

Bayern hit the front on the stroke of half-time - Alaba giving Muller no chance with a sublime free-kick which curled into the top-right corner.

Thiago Alcantara squandered a great chance to double Bayern's advantage, but Perisic made no such mistake nine minutes after the restart.

Muller got a hand to the Croatian's thumping header but only pushed it up onto the underside of the crossbar, unable to prevent it crossing the line, and Bayern had their fourth when Coman met Joshua Kimmich's delivery.

Lewandowksi bundled in from close range soon after, with the rout completed when Davies tapped into an empty net.

What does it mean? Bayern's support cast get in on the show

All of Bayern's five Bundesliga goals heading into Saturday's contest had been scored by Lewandowski, but the champions' back-up brigade came to the fore this time around.

With Perisic and Coman in particular helping themselves to confidence-boosting goals, it suggests Bayern should not have to be overly reliant on Lewandowski this term, especially once Philippe Coutinho - who put in a tidy performance on his full debut - gets firing.

Pavard opens his account

Pavard scored one of the most memorable goals of the 2018 World Cup, and the France international - who was partly at fault for Mainz's opener - got off the mark for Bayern with a fine volley, albeit one that Muller could have done better with.

Defensive lapses could prove costly

Bayern were held to a 2-2 draw at Allianz Arena in their opening Bundesliga fixture of the season, with one of Hertha Berlin's goals in that match coming as a result of a defensive mix-up.

Kovac fielded a young, but experienced, defence, yet Pavard, Niklas Sule and Lucas Hernandez were rather caught out for Mainz's goal, and Bayern will need to ensure they are 100 per cent switched on at the back at all times.

What's next?

RB Leipzig have made a flying start to the season, and they are up next for Bayern following the international break. Mainz, meanwhile, host Hertha.

Philippe Coutinho and Ivan Perisic were handed full debuts for Bayern Munich after Niko Kovac named the duo in his starting XI for the Bundesliga clash with Mainz.

After arriving on loan from Barcelona, Coutinho came on as a substitute in Bayern's 3-0 win over Schalke last time out.

Perisic, loaned from Inter, also made an appearance from the bench as Robert Lewandowski's hat-trick secured the champions' first win of the season.

But both players were afforded the chance on Saturday to prove their worth from the start, with head coach Kovac making three changes in total.

Coutinho came in as the number 10 in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Thomas Muller dropping to the bench, while Perisic was set to start on the left - Serge Gnabry missing out and Kingsley Coman switching to the right flank.

The other change saw Corentin Tolisso make way for Thiago Alcantara, with Kovac deciding to keep his back line of Benjamin Pavard, Niklas Sule, Lucas Hernandez and David Alaba intact. Lewandowski starts up front.

Everton have confirmed the signing of Jean-Philippe Gbamin from Bundesliga club Mainz for an undisclosed fee reported to be £25million.

Idrissa Gueye's transfer to Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday left a void in Everton's midfield, with boss Marco Silva having previously confirmed the club would need a replacement lined up if the Senegal international were to leave.

Despite links to Southampton's Mario Lemina, it is Gbamin who has been brought in, with the 23-year-old agreeing a five-year deal at Goodison Park.

"It's a big moment with a lot of emotion and now it’s on me to prove on the pitch why they bought me," Gbamin told Everton's website.

"I'm excited because Everton is a great club here in England with a big history and ambition so I didn't think for more than a moment - I wanted to come here."

Gbamin, who joined Mainz from Lens in 2016, made 31 appearances in the Bundesliga last season, scoring twice.

The Ivory Coast international is also capable of playing at right-back and centre-back, and becomes Everton's fourth signing of the close season after Jonas Lossl, Andre Gomes and Fabian Delph.

Everton look set to make a fifth addition in the coming days, with Juventus striker Moise Kean reportedly due to undergo a medical on Saturday ahead of a proposed £29million move from the Serie A champions.

Bayern Munich will launch their Bundesliga title defence with a home match against Hertha Berlin.

That match gets the campaign under way on Friday, August 16, and was announced when the new season's fixtures were released on Friday.

The champions head to Schalke on the second weekend before returning to the Allianz Arena to face Mainz.

Borussia Dortmund, who faded badly in the second half of last term, could field new signings Thorgan Hazard and Nico Schulz in their first outing at home to Augsburg.

Lucien Favre's side then meet two promoted sides in Cologne and Union Berlin. Union Berlin's top-flight debut begins with a visit from Julian Nagelsmann's RB Leipzig.

Leipzig's other early opponents include Europa League semi-finalists Eintracht Frankfurt and a team that narrowly missed out on the Bundesliga top four in 2018-19, Borussia Monchengladbach.

Dortmund kept the title race alive until the final day last season and will view their two Der Klassiker dates against Bayern as crucial to mounting another challenge.

The initial encounter takes place in Bavaria between November 8 and 10, with the reverse fixture scheduled for April 3-6.

Before then - on the last weekend in October - comes the first Ruhr derby as Dortmund look to atone for their costly April loss to close rivals Schalke.

Other opening weekend fixtures see Bayer Leverkusen entertain promoted Paderborn, with Werder Bremen welcoming Fortuna Dusseldorf.

Former Huddersfield Town manager David Wagner goes to Gladbach for his first Bundesliga match in charge of Schalke.

 

Bundesliga 2019-20 opening round in full:

Bayern Munich v Hertha Berlin
Borussia Dortmund v Augsburg
Bayer Leverkusen v Paderborn
Borussia Monchengladbach v Schalke
Wolfsburg v Cologne
Eintracht Frankfurt v Hoffenheim
Werder Bremen v Fortuna Dusseldorf
Freiburg v Mainz
Union Berlin v RB Leipzig

West Ham have signed Millwall goalkeeper David Martin - the son of a Hammers great.

The shot-stopper's father is Alvin Martin, one of West Ham's all-time most popular players having made 596 appearances from 1976-1996, with Martin moving to the London Stadium on a two-year contract.

Martin, 33, said: “Signing for West Ham United is a dream, both for me and my family. I’ve grown up around West Ham and to come to my boyhood club is a dream."

He added on West Ham's website: “I came to games as a kid as one of the supporters in the stands at the Boleyn Ground. I loved watching my dad play, and I’ve continued coming to games throughout my career.

"The fans at West Ham are brilliant and it’s fantastic to be a part of this great club."

Martin faces a battle to win the starting jersey next season, given Lukasz Fabianski and fellow new-signing Roberto appear to be blocking his path.

He said: “I’ve always been an enthusiastic and positive person - I’ll always go into training every day with that attitude to compete with Lukasz (Fabianski) and Roberto."

The Hammers have sold Swiss international Edimilson Fernandes to Bundesliga club Mainz.

The 23-year-old was loaned out to Fiorentina last season, playing in a side that narrowly avoided relegation from Serie A.

Now he heads to Germany to further his career, which began in Switzerland with Sion before he was recruited by West Ham for a reported £5.5million in August 2016.

West Ham announced the sale on their website and said Fernandes, who made 48 senior appearances for the Hammers, had moved permanently for an undisclosed fee.

Fernandes told the Mainz website: "I'm now excited for the challenge of playing in the Bundesliga and to play in front of the Mainz fans."

Mainz goalkeeper Rene Alder has confirmed he will retire at the end of the Bundesliga season.

The 34-year-old, a 12-time Germany international, is to bring an end to his playing career after 17 years in the senior game.

Adler, who has not featured for Mainz in 2018-19, says his body can no longer cope with the rigours of the sport.

"The trust in my body just isn't there anymore. It doesn't make sense anymore to continue and therefore I am retiring," said Adler, who suffered a serious knee injury in his last outing for Mainz - a 3-0 win over RB Leipzig in April 2018.

"It was a huge mental effort. I have paid a heavy price. My body has had enough."

Adler came through Bayer Leverkusen's youth team and spent a further six years there after making his debut in 2006.

He then spent five seasons with Hamburg before joining Mainz in 2017. In total, he played 269 matches in Germany's top flight.

Adler won a dozen caps for Germany, but missed out on a place at the 2010 World Cup due to a rib injury.

Borussia Dortmund moved back to the Bundesliga summit after two goals from Jadon Sancho secured a 2-1 win over Mainz on Saturday.

Bayern Munich took control of the title race with a thumping 5-0 win over Lucien Favre's side last weekend, but Dortmund returned to winning ways to leapfrog Niko Kovac's men ahead of their game with Fortuna Dusseldorf on Sunday.

England international Sancho was in scintillating form from the outset, scoring twice from close range inside the opening 24 minutes.

Mainz responded well to those early setbacks, twice hitting the post through Karim Onisiwo, and set up a tense finale when Robin Quaison prodded home seven minutes from time. Dortmund held on, though, to crank up the pressure on Bayern.

Jacob Bruun Larsen was denied early on by a smart stop from Florian Muller before Sancho scored his first in the 17th minute, the 19-year-old steering home Mario Gotze's cross with a controlled half-volley from eight yards.

He then took his league tally for the season to 10 seven minutes later when his low effort from Thomas Delaney's cross crashed off Moussa Niakhate and past the helpless Muller.

The hosts did not have it all their own way in the first half, however. Onisiwo went close to pulling a goal back but his improvised flick clipped the outside of the post.

The visitors did most of the pressing during the second period and Onisiwo was again denied by the upright shortly after the hour-mark.

Substitute Quaison pulled one back in the 83rd minute from close range and they could have even snatched a dramatic point if not for some remarkable goalkeeping from Roman Burki, who denied Anthony Ujah three times in quick succession.

James Rodriguez expects Bayern Munich and Real Madrid to open talks over a permanent transfer after his hat-trick inspired the Bundesliga champions to a 6-0 win over Mainz.

Bayern bounced back from their Champions League exit at the hands of Liverpool in style on Sunday, returning to the top of the Bundesliga after Borussia Dortmund had beat Hertha Berlin a day earlier.

With Robert Lewandowski opening the scoring early on, James put Bayern further ahead before rounding off his hat-trick in the second half – Kingsley Coman and Alphonso Davies also getting on the scoresheet for Niko Kovac's side.

Reports in Spain had suggested that James – whose two-year loan from Madrid is due to expire at the end of the season – would not be extending his stay in Munich, but the Colombia playmaker revealed his wishes to stay at Bayern.

"Nobody knows what the future brings," James told Sport1. "The clubs will hold talks.

"I'm very happy and I feel comfortable here. Kovac is a good coach, I am sure we can still win many titles with him."

Bayern have now won 13 of their last 14 Bundesliga matches and Kovac was thrilled with his side's spirited response to their Champions League disappointment.

"That we are first again, that makes us happy. There was a lot of wit today, a lot of spirit, lots of good actions," Kovac told a news conference.

"We had a very good start. That's important after the disappointing match on Wednesday, that the team showed such a good reaction.

"We could shake the disappointment off together. We can go into the international break calm now, and hope that everyone comes back healthy."

Bayern are level on points with Dortmund at the top, though lead on goal difference, with a crunch clash against their title rivals coming up on April 6.

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.

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.

What a moment for the 18-year-old #MiaSanMia #FCBM05 pic.twitter.com/FeBXmNN8av

— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) March 17, 2019
What does it mean? Bayern ruthless and relentless

As poor as Bayern were against Liverpool in midweek, they were excellent in establishing a 3-0 first-half lead that was not remotely flattering and they did not let up after the break.

Bayern have won six in a row at home in the league, conceding just twice in that run, form which makes Dortmund's task in next month's clash look tough. Mainz, meanwhile, have lost six of their last seven league games and Sandro Schwarz's side are not yet safe.


James runs the show

Performances like this from James make it a mystery why Bayern are yet to confirm they will definitely trigger their purchase option at the end of his two-year loan from Real Madrid. 

The gulf in class between James and Mainz was vast and the Colombia international, who scored his first hat-trick since 2011, is becoming an increasingly key piece of the puzzle for Kovac.


Hack error hands James match ball

Mainz were already heading for a heavy defeat but, when Alexander Hack lost the ball on the edge of his own penalty area, James was left with a simple task to complete his hat-trick.


What's next?

Bayern are away to Freiburg when the Bundesliga returns after the international break on March 30. On the same day, Mainz hope to break their bad run when they travel to Werder Bremen.

Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski says his goal return this season has been impacted by his decision to develop a more selfless approach.

The Poland international has scored 17 goals in 24 Bundesliga games this term but is some way short of matching his hauls from the past three campaigns with just eight matches remaining after Sunday's clash with Mainz.

Lewandowski was also powerless to prevent Bayern from exiting the Champions League at the last-16 stage in midweek, failing to score in either leg against Liverpool.

He did, however, become the Bundesliga's highest-scoring foreign player by taking his tally to 197 and surpassing Claudio Pizarro with a double in a 6-0 win over Wolfsburg last weekend.

While the 30-year-old is still motivated by scoring goals, he admits he has tailored his approach to become a more rounded team player.

"I'm playing differently this season, I've developed some more," he told Welt am Sonntag.

"You can see that in my assist statistics. I've got 10 this season, which is the most I've ever had, so I'll probably top that by the end of the season.

"I did a lot of reflecting and thinking about how I can best help the team. I saw what I felt the team needs from me and told myself: 'I'll do everything that helps the team.'

"It may be that I've scored a fewer goals than in recent seasons, but that doesn't mean I'm having a bad season.

"My duties on the pitch have changed. I now concentrate on the entire team, not just myself. The team comes first.

"I try to open up gaps and create chances without losing my own hunger for goals. I always want to score goals."

Bayern were leapfrogged at the Bundesliga summit by Borussia Dortmund on Saturday after their last-gasp win at Hertha Berlin, but Niko Kovac's side can return to top spot with a victory against Mainz.

Niko Kovac has defended his tactics in Bayern Munich's Champions League defeat to Liverpool after criticism from Robert Lewandowski.

Bayern left Anfield last month with what was widely regarded as a commendable 0-0 draw, but they were second best in Wednesday's return leg in Munich, losing 3-1 to Jurgen Klopp's side.

An angry Lewandowski was left with little doubt that the team's tactics were to blame, saying: "I think we played too deep, didn't want to make too many risks, and I don't know why."

Kovac disagrees with Lewandowski's assessment, however, and believes that Bayern were simply beaten by the better team.

"The approach was exactly the same as against Wolfsburg or Borussia Monchengladbach [games they won resoundingly] so I cannot agree with the criticism," he told a media conference ahead of Bayern's Bundesliga clash with Mainz on Sunday.

"We played against a better opponent who deserved to win.

"We did not get the support he [Lewandowski] needs. We played against the best defence in the Premier League.

"We can only be as good as the opponent allows and if you have few balls as a striker, disappointment is normal."

A run of 12 wins in their last 13 league games has lifted Bayern above Borussia Dortmund on goal difference at the Bundesliga summit and Kovac does not believe Wednesday's disappointment will derail their bid for a seventh consecutive title.

"We're doing well in both competitions [Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal] and we've made up 10 points," he added. "They are all professionals and they have the quality to turn the disappointment into victories.

"I expect a difficult game. Mainz is an uncomfortable team, but my team has shown that they keep coming back.

"We have to break their resistance and win the game so the players can relax and go to their national teams."

Lukasz Piszczek scored an impressive late winner as Borussia Dortmund earned a thrilling 2-1 win at Mainz to extend their lead at the top of the Bundesliga.

The win stretched Dortmund's advantage at the summit to seven points, with closest challengers Borussia Monchengladbach not in action until Sunday when they face Hannover.

Dortmund dominated the first-half possession and made the brighter start, Dan-Axel Zagadou's header saved by Robin Zentner shortly before Marco Reus was narrowly wide with another aerial effort.

Axel Witsel had a strike well tipped over for the visitors, before Jean-Philippe Mateta's chip was kept out by an onrushing Roman Burki at the other end.

Mainz started brightly after the break with Mateta's blocked shot drifting just wide before Danny Latza fired a threatening effort into the side netting.

But Paco Alcacer, for whom Dortmund activated their option to sign him permanently from Barcelona on Friday, came on for Mario Gotze after 64 minutes and scored his ninth Bundesliga goal of the season exactly two-and-a-half minutes later to cap a superb counterattack.

The Spain striker tapped in after Jadon Sancho's impressive throughball found Reus, whose cut-back laid it on a plate for him.

Mainz made a quick response, Alexander Hack's pass deflecting off Witsel into the path of Robin Quaison to slot a first-time finish under Burki with 20 minutes remaining, his first league goal of the season.

But the decisive blow came with 14 minutes remaining as Piszczek netted his first Bundesliga goal since February 2017. After seeing his initial effort blocked, the defender curled a magnificent effort in off the bar from 18 yards to maintain Lucien Favre's side's momentum.

Dortmund's battling victory gained further in significance as rivals Bayern Munich were pegged back in a 3-3 home draw against Dusseldorf, leaving them nine points off the pace.

Thomas Muller has claimed Bayern Munich are not in a position to be picky over the manner of their victories after a tightly-contested 2-1 win over Mainz. 

Thiago Alcantara got the winner as Bayern Munich continued to ease the pressure on coach Niko Kovac with a 2-1 Bundesliga win at Mainz on Saturday. 

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