Berlin: Robert Lewandowski claimed his 12th goal in his last four games as Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich trounced second-placed Borussia Dortmund 5-1 to go seven points clear on Sunday.
The Polish hot-shot netted Bayern’s third and fourth goals at Munich’s Allianz Arena after Germany forward Thomas Mueller’s double, including a first-half penalty.
Mario Goetze grabbed Bayern’s fifth to compound his former club’s misery.
Lewandowski sent Bundelsiga records tumbling by scoring five in just nine minutes in the 5-1 thrashing of Wolfsburg less than a fortnight ago.
The 27-year-old has scored in all of Bayern’s three games since, including a Champions League hat-trick in the 5-0 rout of Dinamo Zagreb.
Lewandowski is the Bundelsiga’s top scorer with 12 goals in just seven games, but Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is just behind him with 10 in eight.
Dortmund suffered their first defeat in 15 games under new coach Thomas Tuchel and the gap between the chasing pack and Bayern already looks ominous, even at this early stage of the season, with Pep Guardiola’s Bavarians hunting an unprecedented fourth straight league title.
Dortmund dominated the opening 20 minutes, but Bayern stepped up a gear when Mueller controlled Jerome Boateng’s long ball and beat Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Burki on 26 minutes.
Dortmund conceded a penalty when Heinrikh Mkhitaryan fouled Thiago in the area and Muller drilled the penalty on 35 minutes to double the hosts’ lead.
The visitors fought back on 36 minutes when Aubameyang swept home Gonzalo Castro’s superb cross, but it was all Bayern from then on.
Lewandowski made it 3-1 on 46 minutes when he finished off his half-chance after another superb long ball from Boateng.
The floodgates opened when Lewandowski slotted home Goetze’s great cross on 58 minutes, then Goetze then hit the back of the net from 12 metres out on 66 minutes.
Bayern have now beaten both last season’s runners-up Wolfsburg and Dortmund, their nearest rivals in the league table, by the same heavy scoreline in recent weeks and Guardiola’s side again looked peerless in Germany.
Earlier, third-placed Schalke crashed to their first defeat in seven games with a 3-0 loss at home to Cologne, who took their chance to climb to fifth.
Cologne’s French striker Anthony Modeste claimed his sixth goal in eight matches before the visitors ran riot in the final ten minutes.
Cologne doubled their lead at Gelsenkirchen’s Veltins Arena when defensive midfielder Yannick Gerhardt netted on 79 minutes, before Simon Voller drilled home a shot, just a minute after coming on, on 84 minutes.
On Saturday, Borussia Moenchengladbach continued their rise up the table as they bounced back from their midweek Champions League defeat against Manchester City with a 2-0 win over Wolfsburg.
Norway midfielder Haavard Nordtvelt and French-born Guinean winger Ibrahima Traore did the damage to leave Gladbach now 13th while Wolfsburg dropped to ninth.
It was Gladbach’s third straight league win under caretaker coach Andre Schubert following Lucien Favre’s sudden resignation.
Hertha Berlin’s impressive season continued as they climbed to fourth with a 3-0 home win over Hamburg as Salomon Kalou gave the hosts a first-half lead, then Vedad Ibisevic netted twice in as many minutes.
Hoffenheim and VfB Stuttgart remain in the bottom four after their 2-2 draw.
Germany international winger Kevin Volland scored both goals for hosts Hoffenheim while bottom side Stuttgart rescued a point as Pirmin Schwegler scored a 90th-minute equaliser.
Hanover won their first match of the season as they defeated Werder Bremen 1-0 thanks to the only goal on 56 minutes through French-born Senegalese international Salif Sane.
Bavaria’s Ingolstadt, who are in their debut Bundesliga season, defeated Eintracht Frankfurt 2-0 with late goals from Pascal Gross and Stefan Lex to take sixth spot.
On Friday, Mainz evened their record at four wins and four defeats in a thrilling 3-2 victory at promoted Darmstadt.
Mainz are in touch of the top six while Darmstadt suffered only their second defeat of the eight-game season and lie 10th.