Thiago equaliser spares Bayern blushes

Berlin (AFP) – Thiago Alcantara’s second-half equaliser rescued Bayern Munich in Saturday’s 2-2 draw at home to Mainz as the runaway Bundesliga leaders twice came from behind.

Having bowed out of the Champions League quarter-finals at Real Madrid in midweek, the draw caps a week to forget for Bayern, who are winless in their last four games.

Relegation-threatened Mainz came close to another shock win in Munich, but Bayern extended their unbeaten home run in the league to 20 matches dating back to March 2016 — when they lost 2-1 to Mainz.

Spain star Thiago hit the equaliser 17 minutes from time against a team just one point above the relegation places with four games left.

Second-placed RB Leipzig can cut Bayern’s lead to six points by winning at Schalke on Sunday.

Leipzig host Carlo Ancelotti’s Bayern on the penultimate weekend of the season on May 13.

It was a poor performance from double-chasing Bayern ahead of Wednesday’s German Cup semi-final at home to Borussia Dortmund.

“It wasn’t easy to play after the shock against Real Madrid, but we could have done better,” admitted Ancelotti.

“We expected more. We weren’t good in the first half and not compact enough.

“I am sure it will be better against Dortmund on Wednesday. We have time to prepare ourselves and we will play better.”

Mainz took the lead just three minutes after kick-off at the Allianz Arena when ex-Barcelona midfielder Bojan Krkic fired home his first goal for Mainz and stun the home crowd.

Normal service was resumed when Arjen Robben sprinted onto Franck Ribery’s superb pass and rifled home Bayern’s first equaliser on 16 minutes.

Munich then lost Austria defender David Alaba, clutching his thigh and he is doubtful for Wednesday’s semi-final.

Bayern’s problems were compounded when his replacement Joshua Kimmich fouled Mainz’s Japan striker Yoshinori Muto in the area.

Bayern’s goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is sidelined with a foot fracture for the rest of the season and his replacement Sven Ulreich could not stop Daniel Brosinski’s penalty on 41 minutes that put Mainz 2-1 up at the break.

But Bayern finally made their 75 percent possession count through Thiago’s equaliser from 17 yards out.

– Aubameyang strikes –

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the league’s top-scorer, hit his 27th league goal this season as Raphael Guerreiro headed the winner in Borussia Dortmund’s 3-2 win at Borussia Moenchengladbach to climb to third.

Dortmund are now on course to qualify for a direct Champions League berth after Marco Reus converted an early penalty to give the visitors the lead.

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