Robert Lewandowski’s and Thomas Muller’s goals helped injury-depleted Bayern Munich maintain their lead at the top of the Bundesliga standings.
The former Borussia Dortmund striker struck in either half to take his tally for the season to 16, before Muller’s late strike sealed victory for the hosts.
Pep Guardiola had described his team’s injury situation as “very critical,” having to name only four substitutes for the match without the services of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Arjen Robben, Frank Ribery, David Alaba and Mehdi Benatia among others.
And with a Uefa Champions League last-8 first leg tie away to FC Porto just by the corner, the former Barcelona coach tweaked his starting lineup, with four players of Spanish origin in Juan Bernat, Pepe Reina, Xabi Alonso and Thiago Alcantara starting a Bundesliga game; blazing a trail for others to follow in the history of the German top flight.
The visitors sat deep in their own half, but that did not stop Bayern form assuming ascendancy with their first attack after 15 minutes as Muller laid the ball off for Lewandowski, who flicked it over his marker inside the area and smashed a sublime volley beyond goalkeeper Kevin Trapp into the top corner.
Trapp twice denied the Polish striker- the second a superb save from close range- while at the other end Reina had to remain at alert, despite being a spectator for most of the opening period, to save off the feet of Sonny Kittel in a one-on-one situation.
Frankfurt came pouring out of their hiding place in the second half, but their forward play posed little trouble for Bayern in the attacking third.
Bayern themselves were having difficulty putting the game to bed, with Gotze drilling his shot against the base of the upright after a mazy run into Frankfurt area.
Lewandowski headed in Bayern’s second goal off a rebound of Gotze’s goal-bound shot, which was hacked high off the line by Makoto Hasebe for the striker to complete his brace.
Muller completed scores late on, curling home from an acute angle from a Mitchell Weiser assist.
Elsewhere, Borussia Monchengladbach beat Dortmund 3-1 via goals from Oscar Wendt, Raffael and Havard Nordveit, with Ilkay Gundogan grabbing a consolation for the visitors.