Berlin (dpa) – Bayern Munich put the pressure on title rivals RB Leipzig by moving five points clear at the top of the Bundesliga with a 3-1 win at Werder Bremen on Saturday.
Leon Goretzka, Serge Gnabry and Robert Lewandowski grabbed the goals as the defending champions coasted to victory. Second-placed Leipzig host fourth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday in a tricky encounter with nine games then remaining this term.
“We should have scored a few more. We hit the woodwork four times,” Bayern’s Thomas Mueller told Sky.
In other early Saturday matches, third-placed Wolfsburg crushed bottom side Schalke 5-0 including a comical own goal from Shkodran Mustafi which summed up a miserable season.
Third-bottom Mainz won 1-0 against Freiburg thanks to substitute Robin Quaison and Cologne, just a point better off, lost 2-1 at European hopefuls Union Berlin.
Bayern were without the injured David Alaba but their defence was barely troubled in Bremen with the champions on the front foot from the off.
Serge Gnabry fired over early on for Bayern but they did not have to wait too long to open the scoring. Goretzka powerfully headed home after Mueller flicked on a corner midway through the first half.
Chances for the visitors kept on coming and Bremen, who have a terrible record against Bayern but did manage a 1-1 draw in Munich in November, had no answer.
Gnabry made it 2-0 10 minutes before the break after a well-worked move with Mueller chesting the ball down and putting the ball on a plate for the Germany winger to finish.
Mueller’s performance will add to calls for him to join Gnabry in the Germany team after departing coach Joachim Loew refused to be drawn on rumours of a recall this week.
Before kick-off, Bayern boss Hansi Flick again refused to expressly rule out replacing Loew in July, saying only that he has a contract in Munich until 2023. But all was well otherwise with Bayern.
Lewandowski, who hit the woodwork three times, had an easy tap-in following a corner for 3-0 and moved onto 32 league goals this term as he chases Gerd Mueller’s record of 40. The Pole is also now joint second on the list of all-time Bundesliga scorers with 268.
Niclas Fuellkrug’s late goal for Bremen was nothing but a consolation.
Wolfsburg coach Oliver Glasner had to make four changes to what has otherwise been a fairly consistent starting eleven over recent weeks.
But it made no difference against hapless Schalke, who are heading quickly for the second tier with still only one win to their name this term.
Error-prone Mustafi added another aberration to his collection when he headed into the wrong net after the ball had flicked up off central defensive partner Malick Thiaw.
Their counterparts for Wolfsburg, Marin Pongracic and John Anthony Brooks, started after being fined by the club for violating coronavirus rules at a party.
It was Wout Weghorst in a party mood as he slammed in the Wolves’ second shortly after the break, with his 16th Bundesliga goal this term meaning he has netted the same amount as the whole Schalke squad.
Ridle Baku added the third from Weghorst’s pass after another Mustafi mistake before Josip Brekalo and Maximilian Philipp netted two more.
Sixth-placed Borussia Dortmund host Hertha Berlin, now level with Mainz, in Saturday’s late game.
Augsburg beat faltering Borussia Moenchengladbach 3-1 on Friday. Alongside the Leipzig game, Bayer Leverkusen also welcome second-bottom Arminia Bielefeld on Sunday when VfB Stuttgart face Hoffenheim.