FC Bayern beat Schalke 3-1 on Saturday evening, cutting the gap to league leaders Dortmund to five points. Robert Lewandowski pressurized Jeffrey Bruma into an own goal early in the game, Ahmed Kutucu levelling the scores midway through the first half, but Bayern responded almost immediately when Lewandowski found the net. Serge Gnabry extended the lead after the restart, and the dominant Bavarians were increasingly content to sit on their lead, but they were always closer to netting a fourth than the visitors to pulling one back.
The German record champions started with Sven Ulreich in goal and Joshua Kimmich, Jérôme Boateng, Mats Hummels and David Alaba in a back four. Thiago and Leon Goretzka featured in a twin holding role behind Gnabry, James and Kingsley Coman, with Lewandowski as lone striker. Franck Ribéry, Javi Martínez and Alphonso Davies took over from Coman, James and Gnabry in the second half.
Lewy the centre of attention
The 75,000 capacity crowd at the Allianz Arena saw an entertaining, up-tempo contest between two contrasting sides with Bayern in the driving seat. James saw an effort blocked following an impressive dribble by Coman, Alaba misuing from 25 yards. But Bayern were soon rewarded when Bruma put through his own goal under heavy pressure from Lewandowski.
Bayern set up camp in their opponents' half, with Gnabry drawing a fine save from custodian Ralf Fährmann. However, Schalke bounced back on the break, Weston McKennie releasing Kutucu for a run, the forward slotting past Ulreich. The German record champions responded almost immediately, James inviting Lewandowski to fire past Ulreich and round off a record of 100 goals at the Allianz Arena. Fährmann proved equal to a James effort before the Colombian fired a free-kick over the bar, and match official Daniel Siebert blew for half-time.
Reds extend lead and engage cruise control
Proceedings were similar in the second half. Goretzka fired into the side-netting before Coman tested Fährmann. Schalke upped the pace now, McKennie hitting the post before Ulreich denied Bruma, but Gnabry twisted the knife when he headed past Fährmann following an acrobatic Lewandowski scissor-kick.
Bayern engaged cruise control now but were always in control. Lewandowski fired wide from six yards before seeing an effort blocked. Goretzka failed to connect with a Boateng through-ball, and Siebert put the visitors out of their misery.
The result means Bayern have 45 points from 21 matches, five short of Borussia Dortmund, who drew against Hoffenheim earlier on Saturday. The Bavarians will be back in action next Friday, when they travel to face Augsburg.
Live match report for fcbayern.com by Greg Salmen
Ulreich – Kimmich, Boateng, Hummels, Alaba – Thiago, Goretzka – Gnabry (Davies 89), James (Martínez 78), Coman (Ribéry 68) – Lewandowski
Früchtl – Süle, Rafinha, Müller
FC Schalke 04
Fährmann – Caligiuri, Sané, Bruma, Oczipka – Serdar (Harit 54), Rudy (Mascarell 33), Bentaleb, Konoplyanka – Kutucu (Uth 73), McKennie
Langer – Mendyl, Nastasic, Matondo
Daniel Siebert (Berlin)
1-0 Bruma (11, og), 1-1 Kutucu (25), 2-1 Lewandowski (27), 3-1 Gnabry (57)
Lewandowski / Caligiuri, Bruma