Berlin, Jan 24 (AFP/APP): Bayern Munich opened up a seven-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga with a 4-0 win at bottom side Schalke 04 on Sunday as Robert Lewandowski scored for the eighth straight league game.
Thomas Mueller claimed the first of his two goals with a header before Lewandowski netted from a tight angle midway through the second half for his 23rd goal in his 17th Bundesliga match this season. Bayern then scored twice in the final two minutes, with a second Mueller header before David Alaba smashed in a long-range shot in the 90th minute.
“We have had a few big points this week – even when we don’t overrun the opposition,” Mueller told Sky, referring to Bayern’s nervous 1-0 win at Augsburg on Wednesday.
The Bavarians’ midfielder Joshua Kimmich weighed in with three assists from pin-point accurate passes in Gelsenkirchen. Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer kept his 197th clean sheet in the Bundesliga to set a new league record.
“I hope Schalke stay in the league and manage to turn the tide,” said Neuer, who was an academy product from the Veltins Arena before joining Bayern a decade ago.
As the only top three team to win this weekend, the European champions are on course for a ninth straight league title. They extended their lead over RB Leipzig, who crashed to a shock 3-2 defeat at second-from-bottom Mainz on Saturday. Schalke remain rooted to the bottom and ten points from safety. Bayern routed the Royal Blues 8-0 in Munich when the teams last met in September, but the hosts put up more of a fight having changed their head coach three times in four months.
Even with captain Sead Kolasinac and veteran striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar missing with leg knocks, they had chances as Suat Serdar and Mark Uth forced saves from Neuer. Bayern broke the deadlock on 33 minutes when Kimmich was left with plenty of time to curl his cross straight into the path of Mueller’s header. It stayed 1-0 at the break, but Lewandowski once again proved, with exquisite finishing, why he was voted FIFA’s best male player of 2020.
Kimmich lofted his pass over the Schalke defence, which Lewandowski controlled superbly, then beat two defenders and fired home from a tight angle nine minutes after the break. Schalke goalkeeper Ralf Faehrmann had kept the score respectable with a dozen saves until the dam burst with two goals in the final minutes.
A Kimmich free-kick presented Mueller with a second headed goal on 88 minutes. Then Alaba’s speculative shot from distance evaded Faehrmann’s grasp on 90 minutes.
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