Bayern Munich ruthlessly closed the gap at the top of the Bundesliga courtesy of a 4-0 win against Schalke at the Gelsenkirchen.
|Eurosport - Bayern Munich's Franck Ribery (L) scores a goal against Schalke 04 goalkeeper|
Timo Hildebrand during the German first division Bundesliga match in Gelsenkirchen (Reuters)
First-half goals from Mario Mandzukic and Bastian Schweinsteiger were added to by Franck Ribery and Claudio Pizarro in the second-half as the reigning champions capitalised on Borussia Dortmund’s 1-1 draw at Nuremberg earlier in the day.
Schalke had the better of the opening exchanges and could have been in the lead by the time Schweinsteiger powered the European champions into the lead.
First Kevin-Prince Boateng had an effort saved from the edge of the area before Jerome Boateng prevented Adam Szalai from scoring an almost certain goal with a quarter of an hour gone.
Those early chances appeared to jolt Pep Guardiola’s side into action as they scored two quickfire goals to open up a two-goal advantage at the interval.
First Schweinsteiger rose highest to head past Timo Hildebrand from a corner with 21 minutes on the clock before Mandzukic powered a David Alaba cross past the keeper to double the advantage just a minute later.
The visitors played out the first-half with ease as they kept Schalke at arm’s length – with Julian Draxler kept surprisingly quiet.
The second-half turned into a bit of a procession for the Bavarians as they stroked the ball around with ease as the hosts struggled to threaten.
The marauding Alaba then set up the third with 75 minutes gone as he got in behind the home defence and squared for Ribery to bundle the ball over the line from close range.
As Schalke, roared on by a vociferous home support, sought a consolation, Bayern broke to get the fourth with Thomas Mueller setting up fellow substitute Pizarro to slot home.