Bayern Munich ominous charge towards an eighth successive Bundesliga title continued with a crushing 4-2 win at Bayer Leverkusen, as Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller reached impressive personal milestones.
Hansi Flick’s side – wearing ‘Black Lives Matter’ armbands – looked rusty during the opening exchanges on Saturday yet rallied to overpower their hosts and go 10 points clear of Borussia Dortmund at the summit.
It all began so well for Leverkusen, who opened the scoring early on through Lucas Alario, but they capitulated and conceded three goals in less than 20 minutes – Kingsley Coman, Leon Goretzka and Serge Gnabry all punishing the hosts.
Lewandowski added a fine header to set a new personal best of 44 goals in a single season, turning in a cross from Muller, who equalled the Bundesliga assists record for a solitary campaign.
Despite not being able to call upon Kai Havertz, missing with a muscular issue, Leverkusen began positively and deserved the lead nine minutes in – Alario prodding past Manuel Neuer after being released by Julian Baumgartlinger.
But their confidence soon vanished and Bayern duly restored parity just before the half-hour mark, Coman slotting past Lukas Hradecky after Goretzka robbed Moussa Diaby to set up his team-mate.
Leverkusen then fell apart late in the half. Goretzka rounded off a well-worked move with a left-footed effort that squeezed under Hradecky’s hand, while Gnabry lobbed the goalkeeper to make it 3-1 after a punt up the pitch by Joshua Kimmich.
Peter Bosz took the drastic step of making three changes at half-time, and while chances became slightly harder to come by for Flick’s team, Leverkusen did not improve a great deal going forward.
Bayern looked the more threatening and eventually got a fourth just past the hour – Lewandowski belatedly getting in on the act with an emphatic header from Muller’s pinpoint cross.
Florian Wirtz, who was introduced at the break, opened his Leverkusen account in style with a curling effort late on to become the Bundesliga’s youngest ever scorer at 17 years and 34 days, but it was a mere consolation for the hosts.
MATCH FACTS AND STATS
Leverkusen (3-5-2): Hradecky; Tapsoba, Bender, Dragovic; Bellarabi (Wirtz 46), Baumgartlinger (Paulinho 62), Aranguiz, Amiri (Demirbay 46); Diaby, Alario (Volland 76), Bailey (Wendell 46)
Subs not used: Tah, Weiser, Palacios, Ozcan
Goals: Alario 11, Wirtz 89
Booked: Amiri, Bellarabi, Dragovic
Manager: Peter Bosz
Bayern Munich (4-2-3-1): Neuer; Pavard, Boateng, Alaba, Davies (Hernandez 85); Kimmich, Goretzka (Martinez 74); Coman (Perisic 66), Muller, Gnabry (Thiago 74); Lewandowski
Subs not used: Odriozola, Perisic, Ulreich, Singh, Zirkee
Goals: Coman 27, Goretzka 42, Gnabry 45, Lewandowski 66
Booked: Coman, Lewandowski, Muller
Manager: Hansi Flick