Leaders Bayern Munich negotiated the toughest test of their Bundesliga defence to date with ease on Sunday as they saw off nearest challengers Borussia Dortmund 5-1 at the Allianz Arena.
Pep Guardiola’s side had beat their own Bundesliga record after seven matches – boasting 21 points and a +20 goal difference – and they moved seven clear at the summit thanks to Klassiker braces from Thomas Muller and Roberto Lewandowski alongside a late strike from Mario Gotze.
Thomas Tuchel named a surprising line-up, with Marco Reus and Matthias Ginter dropping to the bench and Muller made the most of sloppy play from the visitors when he finished well 26 minutes in.
Muller had his second from the spot soon after – Henrikh Mkhitaryan having fouled Thiago Alacantara – but Dortmund were given hope when Gonzalo Castro gave the in-form Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang a tap-in before the break.
Former Dortmund man Robert Lewandowski restored Bayern’s two-goal cushion less than a minute into the second half before extending the advantage prior to the hour with his 12th goal in his past four outings.
Gotze’s first Bundesliga goal since February made it five – with Bayern having also dispatched last season’s runners-up Wolfsburg by the same scoreline already this term – as Tuchel’s unbeaten start to life at Dortmund ended with a limp performance against opponents they have traditionally run close.
Dortmund may be left to lament a failure to convert a fast start into goals. The visitors were quick out of the blocks and Thiago was required to block Mkhitaryan’s cross with the recalled Aubameyang and Shinji Kagawa waiting as Bayern struggled to threaten until Douglas Costa bamboozled stand-in right back Sokratis Papastathopoulos and fired at Roman Burki.
Often noted for their intricate attacking play, Bayern’s breakthrough came from route one tactics as Jerome Boateng’s ball over the reshuffled Dortmund defence sent Muller clear to clip the ball over the onrushing Burki and roll home the opener.
It buoyed Guardiola’s men and the champions doubled their lead from the spot 34 minutes in when Muller converted after Mkhitaryan was punished for catching Thiago inside the area.
However, Aubameyang’s 10th Bundesliga goal of the season reduced the arrears prior to the break, as Castro’s precise ball across the Bayern box was finished well by the Gabon striker.
That brief glimmer of hope was dimmed within a minute of the restart as another lofted Boateng pass caused chaos in the Dortmund backline – Lewandowski the beneficiary as he continued his goalscoring streak by nicking the ball past Burki and hammering Bayern’s third in from a yard.
Reus was introduced soon after along with Adnan Januzaj but Bayern’s pressure continued – Gotze scooping over the crossbar from six yards before turning provider with a delightful pass for Lewandowski to finish.
Gotze got on the scoresheet against his former employers with 24 minutes left – guiding Thiago’s deft backheel past Burki – as Guardiola’s men opened up an ominous early gap at the top, having seen third-place Schalke beaten by Cologne earlier on Sunday.