Bayern Munich went 23 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga on Saturday after a 6-1 thrashing of VfL Wolfsburg that marked their 16th straight win and 49th match undefeated.
With just 10 games left in the campaign, the European champions are virtually assured of defending their title after a sixth successive win over the 2009 Bundesliga winners.
Victory was also the perfect tonic ahead of tomorrow’s Champions League last-16 tie against Arsenal, where they will defend a 2-0 first-leg lead.
Naldo gave Wolfsburg a shock 17th-minute lead before Bayern turned on their game as they head for a 24th national title.
Pep Guardiola’s side scored five times in 20 second-half minutes on Saturday and have now netted 30 goals in eight games since the Bundesliga resumed after the winter break. Since the start of the season, Bayern have scored 72 times and conceded just 11.
“We weren’t as dominant as in recent matches,” Guardiola said. “Wolfsburg were very well organized and very aggressive. They caused us a lot of problems in the first half and at the start of the second, but at the end of the day it was us who scored the goals we needed.”
Wolfsburg held the lead for just 10 minutes before Xherdan Shaqiri leveled for die Roten.
Thomas Mueller and former Wolfsburg striker Mario Mandzukic both scored twice in the second half. Mandzukic now has 16 league goals this season, while Franck Ribery added to the scoreline in his return to action after a month out through injury.
“I think we were outstanding for 65 minutes. We had Bayern reeling,” die Wolfe coach Dieter Hecking said. “But after they made it 3-1 it was as if we suffered a power cut. All our passion and determined running was gone. My players suddenly realized just how superior our opponents were.”
Borussia Dortmund yesterday had the chance to cut the gap to Bayern back to 20 points with a victory at SC Freiburg.
Bayer 04 Leverkusen are third on 44 points after a 1-1 draw at Hannover 96 on Saturday in a game where Bayer goalkeeper Bernd Leno saved a Szabolcs Huszti penalty.
The next mission for Sami Hyppia’s Leverkusen is Wednesday’s Champions League last-16 clash with Paris Saint-Germain, where they have to try and overcome a 4-0 deficit.
Schalke 04 also have 44 points and sit in fourth after seeing off TSG 1899 Hoffenheim 4-0 courtesy of a Klaas-Jan Huntelaar hat-trick.
It was a welcome result for Schalke, who were routed 6-1 by Real Madrid and 5-1 at Bayern in their past two outings.
Huntelaar could have had four goals, but missed a 31st-minute penalty with a lazy attempt.
In Saturday’s late game, Werder Bremen boosted their top-flight survival hopes with a 2-0 win at Nuremberg.
A second successive win for Robin Dutt’s team allowed them to climb two places into 11th and eight points off the relegation zone.
Elsewhere in the league, Borussia Moenchengladbach lost 2-1 at home to Augsburg, VfB Stuttgart ended their eight-game losing streak by drawing bottom side Eintracht Braunschweig 2-2 at home and injury-hit Hamburg SV also drew at home in a 1-1 match against fellow relegation candidates Eintracht Frankfurt.