Perfect Mainz send Bayern crashing to 30-year low

BERLIN, Sept 25, 2010 (AFP) - Leaders Mainz stunned Bayern Munich 2-1 at the German giants' Allianz Arena home on Saturday to preserve their perfect record and condemn the champions to their worst league start in over 30 years.

Mainz's player celebrate scoring during the German first division Bundesliga football match FC Bayern Munich vs FSV Mainz 05 in the southern German city of Munich on September 25, 2010. AFP

The result handed Louis van Gaal's struggling side a second league defeat and left them in eighth place, 10 points behind Mainz, who lead Borussia Dortmund by two.

"It was a pathetic performance," fumed Bayern sporting director Christian Nerlinger after a defeat that means the Bavarian giants have made their worst start to a season since 1977-78.

"Mainz were extraordinary today and played very well, but our situation is precarious. The alarm bells are ringing and we need to see how the team reacts."

Coach Louis van Gaal added: "A lot of our players performed well below their usual level. I believe Mainz can go far this season and why not think about the title?"

Mainz, who now have a perfect six wins from six games, were in front after 15 minutes when 20-year-old Lewis Holtby swept past Daniel Van Buyten to cross for Sami Allagui.

The Tunisian international then beat German international full-back Philipp Lahm before scoring past goalkeeper Jorg Butt with a cheeky backheel.

Bayern, looking a shadow of the team that reached the Champions League final last season, and without the services of Franck Ribery for a month, settled as the half progressed and Miroslav Klose came close with a header in the 43rd minute.

They drew level on the stroke of half-time when Mainz's Danish defender Bo Svensson headed past his own goalkeeper.

But Mainz grabbed the winner thanks to another Bayern defensive error in the 77th minute when Adam Szalai drove the ball home.

"We didn't play well. It was all due to Mainz, we just didn't create enough chances," said van Gaal.

Mainz coach Thomas Tuchel was delighted by his team's performance.

"It will take time for this to sink in," he said. "I always thought we could win here even after we conceded that goal before half-time. I am really proud of this team."

Mainz are closing in on the Bundesliga record for the best start to a season.

Victory over Hoffenheim next week will equal the record of seven straight wins set by Kaiserslautern in 2001-2002 and Bayern Munich in 1995-96.

Dortmund are second in the table with 15 points after defeating St. Pauli 3-1, with Kevin Grosskreutz scoring twice.

Schalke, runners-up last season, had celebrated their first win of this campaign in mid-week with a 2-1 win over Freiburg, but they were facing defeat when they trailed 2-1 at home to Borussia Moenchengladbach.

But former Real Madrid star Raul scored his first goal for Schalke when he netted with three minutes left to grab a point in a 2-2 draw.

The draw was enough for Felix Magath's side to move off the bottom of the table with Stuttgart, defeated 4-1 at home by Bayer Leverkusen, taking their place.

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