Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Müller and David Alaba scored the goals as Bayern Munich moved seven points clear at the top of the Bundesliga with a 4-0 win at bottom club Schalke.
Bottom met top at the Veltins-Arena, but it didn't feel that way for much of the first period. Schalke took the game to the 2019/20 treble winners, with Timo Becker warming the palms of Manuel Neuer inside the opening minute. Bayern returned fire through Leroy Sane and Serge Gnabry, who both shot wide, before Lewandowski sent a close-range header over the crossbar. After Sane and Suat Serdar traded speculative efforts, Mark Uth spurned a golden opening to give the Royal Blues the lead when he headed straight at Neuer from an unmarked position inside the area. Ralf Fährmann was called on to repel quick-fire efforts from Gnabry and Müller, while Neuer had to be alert to Benito Raman's shot across goal midway through a furious first half. Lewandowski miscued a header and Neuer swatted away from Ozan Kabak, before Müller settled the nerves with a powerful header from Joshua Kimmich's inch-perfect cross to send Bayern in at the break a goal to the good.
The contest resumed in much the same vein as Gnabry sent a fierce effort wide within moments of the restart. Matija Nastasic followed suit at the other end with a downward header from a corner, with Neuer at full stretch and relieved to see the ball bounce wide. Bayern's response was emphatic, Lewandowski doing the damage courtesy of a superb piece of control from Kimmich's long ball and clinical finish - his 23rd Bundesliga goal of 2020/21. Schalke refused to throw in the towel as Serdar whipped a 20-yard strike narrowly wide, before Uth fizzed wide with the hosts' 13th attempt of the game. Bayern's shot count rose to a season-high 29 as Leon Goretzka fired at Fährmann, who proceeded to keep the score down with a smart stop from teenaged substitute Jamal Musiala. The Schalke custodian's resistance caved in the dying stages, though. After Müller turned in a Kimmich free-kick, Alaba added the gloss from fully 30 yards to leave Die Knappen 10 points adrift of outright safety, with a goal difference of -34.
- Bayern have never registered so many goals after 18 rounds of fixtures (53), and have scored at least once in their last 27 Bundesliga away games.
- Lewandowski is the first player in history to score in eight successive Bundesliga away games. He's also scored at least once in his last 11 in a row against Schalke, and is now on 23 for the league season.
- Neuer set the outright record for most Bundesliga clean sheets with his 197th shut-out. The Bayern captain reached the best-mark in 423 games, while previous record-holder Oliver Kahn needed 557.
- Müller moved on to nine goals for the campaign - one more than he managed across the entire 2019/20 season.
- Sane played for various Schalke youth teams, and made his professional debut for the club. All told, he registered 13 goals and eight assists in 57 competitive appearances for the Royal Blues.
- Goretzka made his 100th competitive appearance for Bayern.
Watch: Manuel Neuer - "We don't want to say we're champions already"
Schalke: Fährmann - Becker, Kabak, Nastasic, Oczipka - Stambouli, Serdar - Raman, Uth, Harit (Schöpf 72') - Hoppe (Boujellab 72')
Unused subs: Langer, Mendyl, Mascarell, Thiaw, Mercan, Bozdogan
Out: Bentaleb (not included), Huntelaar (calf), Kolasinac (knock), Ludewig (foot), Paciencia (knee), S. Sane (knee), Skrzybski (knee)
Coach: Christian Gross
Bayern: Neuer (c) - Süle, Boateng, Alaba, Davies (Hernandez 68') - Kimmich, Goretzka - Gnabry (Musiala 64'), Müller, Sane (Coman 64') - Lewandowski (Choupo-Moting 80')
Unused subs: Nübel, Pavard, Costa, Roca
Out: Nianzou (thigh), Tolisso (muscular), Zirkzee (suspended)
Coach: Hansi Flick