Bayern Munich inched much closer to their Bundesliga title defence with a 0-4 thrashing of Werder Bremen on Saturday.
Thomas Muller’s wonderful curled strike from long range and David Alaba’s free-kick on the stroke of half time helped the German leaders assert control of the game at the Weserstadion.
Muller twice turned provider for Robert Lewandowski, who smashed in a diving header in the 76th minute and then sealed off a comfortable win by finishing off a swift counter on the stroke of full-time.
Bayern now holds 14 points advantage above VFL Wolfsburg in second place ahead of the latter’s game at home to SC Freiburg on Sunday.
The win saw the defending champions equal their record of 17 clean sheets in a season set in the 2012-13 treble-winning campaign.
Pep Guardiola named a side without first choice goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, Dutch winger Arjen Robben and his French cohort Franck Ribery for the first time since February 2014, but that did not prevent the Bavarians from sweeping to their sixth consecutive league win.
Wolfs goalkeeper Raphael Wolf was quick to beat Lewandowski’s header for a corner early on and Jerome Boateng also sent his speculative effort wide from 18 yards.
The visitors broke the deadlock on 24 minutes thanks to Muller’s left-foot curler after his initial effort had been kept out by Wolf.
Alaba doubled the lead after Sebastian Prodl had brought down Mario Gotze at the edge of the box. The Austrian stepped up to squeeze the ball inside the left-hand post- Bayern’s 100th competitive goal of the season.
Fin Bartel sought for a quick response for the hosts but Pepe Reina was equal to his audacious lob early into the second half.
Lewandowski calmly tapped home Bayern’s third after Muller had lifted the ball over the onrushing Wolf into his path.
The introduction of captain Philipp Lahm was a welcomed development for the traveling fans as the German World Cup-winning skipper made his first league appearance since fracturing an ankle in November.
Lewandowski wrapped up an impressive win as his combination with Muller proved a handful for Bremen again.
Eintracht Frankfurt 4-0 Paderborn
Werder Bremen 0-4 Bayern
Hertha Berlin 2-2 Schalke
FC Augsburg 0-2 Mainz
Hoffenheim 3-0 Hamburg