Is it great service or great finishing? Whatever the answer might be, Super Mario Mandžukić continues to fill up the stat sheet after scoring two second half goals to lead Bayern Munich to a 3-0 win over Mainz on Saturday. After a Thomas Müller opening goal, the former Dinamo Zagreb striker would double the score after receiving a pass from David Alaba just a few yards from the goal and easily slipping it past the Mainz keeper. Less then seven minutes later, Philipp Lahm would find Mario with a high cross from the right side and Mario wouldn’t fail from close range to find himself atop the Bundesliga scoring list with 13 goals. Mario played 76 minutes in the win and has made it that much more difficult for Mario Gomez who is looking to sneak into the Bayern starting lineup.
Mario Mandžukić double
Mainz left Ivan Klasnić off the roster sheet.
New team, new result for Srdjan Lakić. The 29-year-old, uncapped Croatian passed his Frankfurt debut with flying colors by scoring two goals in a 2-0 win over HSV on Saturday night in Hamburg. After failing to score in eight Bundesliga games with Wolfsburg this season, Srdjan found the net twice in the first half. In the 22nd minute of play, Lakić made a nice run up the left side to connect on a Stefan Aigner cross from the right side. Just thirteen minutes later, it was Aigner again that would service Srdjan this time in the air and the 6 ft 1 in striker headed this one into the back of the net. Frankfurt find themselves in fourth place on the Bundesliga table and Srdjan could see Champions League action next season if they stay on track.
Srdjan Lakić goals
PHOTO: European cy
Milan Badelj started and played 46 minutes in the loss. The former Dinamo Zagreb defensive midfielder was subbed out for a more offensive minded player with the team down 2-0 at the half. Milan was not at fault for either of the two goals. Hamburg left Ivo Iličević off the roster sheet. No word on his recovery from injury.
PHOTO: European cy
Ivan Perišić celebrated his 24th birthday with a disappointing 1-1 draw against Augsburg on Saturday. The Croatian international couldn’t get anything going against a stingy Augsburg defense and finished without a shot in 90 minutes of play. Ivica Olić came on in the 67th minute in search of a game winner for Wolfsburg. However, the former Dinamo Zagreb striker failed to register a shot on goal as Wolfsburg had to settle for a draw and split the points with Augsburg.
Ivan Rakitić continued his fine form on Sunday in Sevilla’s 2-1 win over Rayo Vallecano as he scored the first goal, but was sent off for a second yellow in the final seconds of stoppage time. The chance came in added time of the first half as Rayo keeper Ruben was caught out after an attempted clearance. The ball fell to Rakitić who calmly chipped it in from 40+ yards. He nearly scored another in the second half but Ruben made a great save to deny Raki the brace. In addition to his shooting abilities, he also showed his creative talents with a hugely impressive eight chances created. After the game, he ranks 3rd in La Liga for key passes per game. Ivan now has 2 goals and 3 assists in his last five appearances for the club. His second yellow card was given for diving in the 95th minute of play. As a result of the sending off, he will miss Sevilla’s next match against Real Madrid. The win puts Sevilla tied for 10th in La Liga, six points out of the European places.
Luka Modrić played the full 90 minutes of Real Madrid’s shocking 1-0 defeat to Granada. With Mesut Ozil out due to yellow card accumulation, Luka was the obvious choice to get the start. He had a mediocre game, with moderate pass success and two chances created. Modrić completed 63 passes at an 84% success rate and picked up a yellow card in the 65th minute. At this point in the season, Real’s focuses have shifted towards winning the two trophies they have realistic shots of still winning, the Copa Del Rey and the Champions League. They play Sevilla next weekend before their clash with Manchester United on February 13th.
2012/13 Season highlights
It was just one of those days for Dejan Lovren on Sunday as the Lyon defender was at fault for all three Ajaccio goals in a 3-1 road defeat. The former Dinamo Zagreb star was caught napping on the first two goals then was shown a red card for a foul on Dennis Oliech in stoppage time for the third and final Ajaccio goal. To make matters worse, Dejan flopped after a lineman accidentally touched his face with his flag. The linesman might face a suspension for that one ya know. Lastly, Dejan tried to play off the penalty call by asking for a flop. Dejan, you’re credibility was shot after the incident with the linesman. Anyone out there still looking for Dejan to start for Croatia against Serbia in March?
Dejan Lovren at fault for all three Ajaccio goals and sees red
Dejan Lovren flops after getting hit in the face by the linesman
Mateo Kovačić made his debut for Inter Milan on Sunday in a 3-1 loss at Siena. The 18-year-old former Dinamo Zagreb midfielder came on at halftime and couldn’t get anything going for Inter in the loss. Cristian Chivu was partly at fault in the loss after picking up a red card in the 55th minute of play. Mateo finished the match without a shot and left the match with butterflies in his stomach. From the looks of things, Mateo will get his chance right away. Hopefully, Inter don’t put too much pressure on the kid to perform before he has a chance to develop.
Former Hajduk Split captain, Ante Vukušić is still looking for his second Serie A goal for Pescara after a 3-2 loss against Bologna. The 21-year-old Croatian international started and played 70 minutes for Pescara but only managed to register one shot in the loss. With the defeat and Genoa’s win, Pescara slipped into the relegation zone.
Fulham at Norwich City, Nürnberg at Eintracht, Hamburger SV at Borussia Dortmund, Wolfsburg at Greuther Fürth, Napoli at Lazio, Sevilla at Real Madrid
Everton at Manchester United, Schalke 04 at Bayern München, Pescara at Palermo, Chievo at Inter, Lille at Olympique Lyonnais
~Ante Kvartuč and Denis Svirčić reporting from sunny Southern California, Zach Gilfix reporting from Minneapolis, MN