6 Things We Learned from Bayern vs. Schalke
It was another fantastic weekend for Bayern Munich and another game to forget for Schalke, as the German champions overcame their Royal Blue counterparts by five goals to one in their top of the table clash.
It was a performance that quickly became a convincing re-enactment of Schalke's unfortunate Champions League clash with Real Madrid earlier in the week as Bayern too broke through Jens Keller's side with little effort.
In fairness to Schalke, it was a deflected free-kick from David Alaba that broke the deadlock in only the third minute of the game before Arjen Robben made it two just 12 minutes later. Then came Mario Mandzukic on the 25th minute followed by the Dutch winger again to grab his brace.
By half-time the Royal Blues were all but stumbling across the pitch and ready for the knockout blow, while Bayern gleefully awaited another 45 minutes of utter torment.
Alas the second half didn't offer the same quantity of goals, as Schalke finally came to terms with their surroundings and found a way to tighten their defense before a Bayern team who in all honestly looked content with their achievements that day.
Yet that's no to say Pep Guardiola's side didn't push for more.
If one Schalke player did make it through such an affair with pass marks it was the in-form Ralf Fahrmann in goals who undoubtedly kept the scoreline below double figure. Bayern eventually got their fifth goal through a penalty awarded when Kyriakos Papadopoulos was perceived to have pushed Mandzukic to the ground.
Robben stepped up and casually knocked the ball home for his hat-trick but not before Schalke were able to pull one back through the ill-guided own goal from former player Rafinha. The second half finished as somewhat of a draw allowing the visitors some small form of hope for the remainder of the season.
Here's what else we took from today's game.
Schalke's Undefeated Return Comes to an End
It may be hard to recall, considering the week that the Royal Blues have just had, but Keller's side actually went into this weekend's top of the table clash having won six and drawn two of their last eight Bundesliga games.
As they welcome Hoffenheim to Gelsenkirchen next week and then travel to Augsburg the week after, fans and players alike will hope to put this week behind them and get back on form soon.
Bayern Reach 15th Consecutive Win
Breaking records seem to be the only thing this Bayern side are playing for as they have completely rattled each team they have come up against in Germany's Bundesliga and abroad in Europe.
This weekend's new achievement was reaching 15 consecutive wins in the German top division, a record held by the club's side back in 2005. One more win against Wolfsburg next Saturday will allow them to put their name in the history books.
Robben Back to the Top of His Form
With injuries to Xherdan Shaqiri, Franck Ribery and Thomas Muller, Guardiola opted to start Dutch international Arjen Robben on the right hand side of his attack.
To little surprise, the forward needed very little time to trouble Schalke's back line with an outstanding hat-trick of goals that started in the 15th minute and ended with a penalty in the 77th minute. This now puts Robben at 10 goals in his last 11 games, via Whoscored.com, and now at 55 goals in 96 Bundesliga appearances for the club.
Schalke in Freefall
It may be a little harsh to call the Gelsenkirchen side in utter freefall, considering they did just play two of the best teams in the world at the moment. Yet the manner in which they just failed to offer any sort of resistance will undoubtedly put a real dent in their confidence and chances of claiming another Champions League spot this season.
This week saw Keller's side concede 11 goals and score just two. A blow that would cripple any side from top to bottom of the Bundesliga.
Bayern Marched on Without Lahm
One of the most telling factors of Bayern's emphatic win this weekend was the simple fact that they did it all without some of their best players.
We've already mentioned the forwards Muller and Ribery, yet it's worth noting that midfield general Philipp Lahm also missed out on the Schalke victory, though you wouldn't have noticed.
Guardiola chose to play the midfield trio of Thiago Alcantara, Toni Kroos and Bastian Schweinsteiger in a tight formation that truly brought the best out of each player. The way all three naturally buzzed around the rest of the side was truly mesmerizing and a further sign of Bayern's impeccable strength in depth.
The Champions Move 20 Points Clear
In what eventually became an incredibly comfortable afternoon for the Bavarian giants, Bayern marched past Schalke whilst oozing all sorts of class to the top of the Bundesliga table with no less than 20 points between themselves and Borussia Dortmund in second place.
As we saw throughout this game, the German and European champions are once again a good head and shoulders above anyone else in a league that is now undoubtedly all but concluded. Bayern will be calling themselves the 2013/14 champions any week now.