Berlin: Bayern Munich played their best game this season to thrash Lille 6-1 in the Champions League on Wednesday with five goals in 33 minutes, but the Germans warned they needed to remain grounded as they seek to end a two-year spell without a title.
The Bavarians exploded in the first half, carving out the biggest half-time lead in the history of the competition in a one-sided game that put the four-time European champions in the driving seat for a spot in the next round with two games left.
Bayern, losing finalists in both 2010 and 2012, eased off in the second half to score once more and move up to nine points in Group F, as many as Valencia, who beat BATE Borisov 4-2.
The result means Lille, who have lost all four games, are eliminated. Whoever wins the next match between Bayern and Valencia in Spain on November 20 will definitely go through, although BATE still have a chance of finishing second.
“This was a superb game and especially the first half was as good as it can ever get,” said winger Arjen Robben, who is gradually hitting top form after a month out with a back injury.
“But we have to remain with both feet on the ground and have to continue in exactly the same way. We have keep playing like that and not let off.
“At the moment everything is going great but we have to make sure that we hit top form in every game.”
The Bavarians, who are also in command in the Bundesliga, seven points clear at the top, have so far dispelled any fears of a possible dip in form similar to last season that eventually cost them any silverware.
A frantic pace set from the start as well as the commitment of several players, including Ribery, to work hard in defence as well, gave the French team no chance as the Bavarians all but sealed the win in the first half.
“I think everyone saw that my team was very motivated and very concentrated,” said coach Jupp Heynckes. “It was flawless in the first half. We played as a team with textbook combinations and great finishes.
“Obviously we had great plays in the first half, but the opponent was not in top form. I do not want to put a dampener on things but that is what it is.”
For Heynckes the convincing victory also reignited talks of a contract extension before his two-year deal with Bayern runs out at the end of the season.
With top players Ribery and Robben happy with their coach and delivering the goods for the Germans it would not really come as a surprise if the oldest Bundesliga coach at 67 decided to stay on for another year.
“Jupp and us have agreed to sit down in early 2013 to discuss things,” said Bayern chief exectuve officer Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. “Jupp is in no rush and neither are we.”