Wolfsburg - FC Bayern's 6-1 win against VfL Wolfsburg on Matchday 24 was the latest demonstration of just how tight a stranglehold the champions have on the rest of the competition at present.
For the first hour they had been matched in every sense by a hungry and aggressive Wolfsburg side, before two substitutions and some ruthless finishing took the game away from the hosts, turning what had been a closely-fought encounter into another emphatic rout for the men from Munich.
Wolfsburg's first-half display had been almost flawless. They pressed the visitors high up the pitch, forcing them into errors and even shading possession with 51 per cent. Naldo's opening goal - only the 11th the Reds have conceded all season - had Guardiola's team reeling until a scruffy effort from Xherdan Shaqiri levelled things before the interval.
Bayern continued to toil after the break in the face of Wolfsburg's organisation and energetic defensive work, until Guardiola delved into his back pocket and produced two aces in Thiago and Mario Mandzukic, altering the pattern of the game entirely. A pass from the Spanish midfielder released Thomas Müller to make it 2-1 on 63 minutes, before another four goals - two from Mandzukic - inside the space of 14 minutes left Wolfsburg utterly shell-shocked. From looking in real danger of finally losing a league game after 17 months, Bayern instead ran out victorious with five goals to spare.
'So much quality'
The barrage underscored not only how clinical Bayern are in front of goal but also the depth of quality at Guaradiola's beck and call. "Thiago hadn't even touched the ball after coming on when he just sliced through our defence with that pass," said Wolfsburg's sporting director Klaus Allofs. "They have so much quality and an amazing level of confidence."
Guardiola himself admitted it hadn't been vintage Bayern but expressed his satisfaction that a difficult test had been negotiated, saying: "We weren't in control of this game in the way we have been in recent weeks. Wolfsburg did some great pressing and were very well organised, but in the end we were able to get the goals.” Bayern’s 16th league win on the trot - another top-flight record - now leaves them on 68 points for the season, and three closer to a 23rd Bundesliga title.
All set for Arsenal
The victory also stands them in good stead for Tuesday evening when they host Arsenal FC in the UEFA Champions League, defending a 2-0 lead from the first leg. "We scored some fantastic goals and kept the tempo high over the final half-hour," said Arjen Robben."This was an important game ahead of Tuesday. And we'll need to turn in another good performance there."
Relive Bayern's second-half onslaught courtesy of the official Bundesliga YouTube channel: