Robert Lewandowski on Saturday scored his 21st league goal of the season as Bayern Munich thrashed Schalke 04 5-0 to cut RB Leipzig’s lead at the top of the Bundesliga to one point.
After Leipzig had crashed to a 2-0 defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt, Bayern seized the chance to trim their advantage with an emphatic win over David Wagner’s young Schalke side.
“The Leipzig match beforehand didn’t interest me, the main thing is we took three points and had a stability in our game, which is very important,” Bayern coach Hansi Flick said.
Lewandowski and Thomas Mueller scored first-half goals, then both had efforts disallowed for offside by the video assistant referee (VAR).
However, Leon Goretzka, Thiago Alcantara and Serge Gnabry netted second-half goals as Bayern dominated at the Allianz Arena.
With less than six minutes played, Schalke goalkeeper Markus Schubert failed to deal with a cross and Lewandowski was on hand to hook the ball into the net.
The Polish star moved one clear of Leipzig’s Timo Werner at the top of the Bundesliga scoring charts.
Schalke’s Welsh forward Rabbi Matondo hit the crossbar soon after, but it was all Bayern after that.
Mueller tapped the ball past Schubert in the six-yard box on 17 minutes, but VAR intervened.
The stadium announcer was already celebrating when replays showed Benjamin Pavard was offside in the buildup as Lewandowski had an effort chalked off.
Bayern and Mueller were not to be denied, though, and the former Germany forward howled with delight when he fired home Goretzka’s header two minutes into first-half stoppage-time.
It was Mueller’s 100th goal at the Allianz Arena.
Bayern Munich came out flying after halftime and Goretzka volleyed home against his former club on 50 minutes.
Lewandowski served up a simple tap-in for Alcantara eight minutes later as Schalke offered precious little resistance, before Gnabry came on and marked his comeback from injury with a late fifth.
“It wasn’t fun for us and it wasn’t nice, but we’ll learn from that,” Wagner said.
Earlier, Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann was left ruing the leaders’ “sloppy” performance in Frankfurt after their first defeat since October last year.
Leipzig have tough games coming up as they host third-placed Borussia Moenchengladbach on Saturday, then visit Bayern on Feb. 9.
Second-half goals by Almamy Toure and Filip Kostic sealed the victory for Frankfurt as Leipzig lost for the first time in 14 games in all competitions.
“We were clearly the better team in the first half, but we were too sloppy with our goalscoring chances,” Nagelsmann said.”
Elsewhere in the title race, Moenchengladbach came from behind to poach a 3-1 home win over FSV Mainz 05.
After Sweden forward Robin Quaison gave Mainz an early lead, Moenchengladbach’s French striker Alassane Plea scored two goals either side of halftime, before substitute Florian Neuhaus grabbed a late third.
Juergen Klinsmann’s Hertha BSC bounced back from their 4-0 thumping at home to Bayern the previous Sunday, which left them hovering just above the relegation places, with a 2-1 win at VfL Wolfsburg thanks to goals from Dodi Lukebakio and Jordan Torunarigha.
SC Paderborn 07 moved off the bottom of the table with a 2-0 win at SC Freiburg, thanks to Christopher Antwi-Adjei’s goal and a penalty by Abdelhamid Sabiri.
Union Berlin bounced back from their defeat at Leipzig with a 2-0 home win over Augsburg, with goals from Neven Subotic and Marcus Ingvartsen.
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