Robert Lewandowski scored a hat-trick as Bayern Munich moved one step closer to becoming German champions for a record fifth consecutive year by thrashing Augsburg 6-0 at Allianz Arena.
It was a case of normal service resumed as the Bundesliga title-holders cruised past their Bavarian neighbours on Saturday, showing no signs of their excellent form having been disturbed by the international break.
Lewandowski opened the scoring with his 22nd league goal of the season, before Thomas Muller made it 2-0 inside a first half that saw Bayern steamroll the visitors and render any game plan Augsburg might have had irrelevant.
Manuel Baum called for a “brave” Augsburg performance before the game but no amount of courage could have compensated for the gulf in quality between this glory-bound Bayern side and their relegation-threatened opponents.
Lewandowski scored two more after the break either side of a Thiago Alcantara strike, and Muller netted late on to ensure Bayern enjoyed an ideal start to a testing period in which they will play nine games in 30 days, including the two legs of their Champions League quarter final against Real Madrid.
Franck Ribery was at his irresistible best from the outset, jinking and weaving his way through the Augsburg defence and swinging in a cross that Kingsley Coman could not quite get his head to after three minutes as Bayern dominated in customary fashion.
The opening goal arrived when Thiago made an incisive burst, dropping a shoulder to glide past Jan Moravek before picking out Lewandowski, who took a touch, let it bounce and hooked the ball into the top corner of the net to make it 1-0 after 17 minutes.
Thiago fired a volley wide from the edge of the box six minutes later, by which time Bayern were starting to taunt their lowly visitors and Muller hit the post with a low drive from 20 yards after 27 minutes.
Bayern doubled their lead after 36 minutes when Ribery’s raking pass found Lewandowski and the Pole’s cross was poked into the net by the knee of Muller, who claimed only his third goal of the season.
The game was put out of Augsburg’s reach in the 55th minute, when Ribery’s threaded pass found the feet of Lewandowski who shrugged off the attentions of Kevin Danso and buried a low shot into the corner of the net from inside the box.
The pick of the goals came after 62 minutes when Thiago surged forward and played a one-two with Muller that was intercepted by Lewandowski, who back-heeled the ball back to the Spaniard for the easiest of close range finishes.
Carlo Ancelotti’s men were playing with verve and swagger, and Thiago hit the crossbar with an audacious 25-yard shot, while Arjen Robben’s introduction only added more flair and audacity to the Bayern attack.
Thiago and Coman were both brought off early by Ancelotti, who could hardly be blamed for prioritising the glut of forthcoming fixtures over the final 20 minutes of a very comfortable victory.
After Lewandowski completed his hat-trick with a close-range finish, Muller executed a fine piece of control to gather a long ball and bury the sixth at the far post, but he was hacked by Christoph Janker in the process and forced off, the hosts ending the game with 10 men on the pitch, having used all their substitutes.