Two goals from Benjamin Pavard and a first in Bayern Munich colours for Joao Cancelo saw the Bundesliga leaders romp to a 5-3 home victory over Augsburg, placing the onus back on challengers Borussia Dortmund who play later on Saturday.
Four of Bayern’s five goals came from defenders, calming fears the side may be toothless up front after the pre-game scratching of striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting.
Augsburg hit the lead after just two minutes through Mergim Berisha, who scored the only goal in his team’s surprise 1-0 win over Bayern in September.
Sensing a potential upset in the mix, the home side upped the intensity and were on the board after 15 minutes through Cancelo, who scored his first goal for Bayern since joining them on loan from Manchester City at the end of January.
Pavard then struck twice to swing the match in Bayern’s favour, the first a poacher’s finish in the box and the second an elegant chip over Augsburg ‘keeper Rafal Gikiewicz.
Leroy Sane scored his team’s fourth in the shadows of halftime and the home side remained in control, despite Berisha — who now has five goals in four matches against Bayern — converting a second half penalty.
Canada wing-back Alphonso Davies added a fifth late in the match to seal a dominant win and head off any hopes of a comeback from the visiting team, with Augsburg’s Irvin Cardona getting a consolation goal in injury time.
The big victory puts the onus back on Dortmund who visit bitter derby rivals Schalke later on Saturday.
Bayern, who qualified for the last eight of the Champions League with a 2-0 win over Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday, have won eight of their past nine in all competitions.
Elsewhere, RB Leipzig climbed up to third with a comfortable 3-0 win over Borussia Moenchengladbach at home thanks to second-half goals from Timo Werner, Emil Forsberg and Josko Gvardiol.
Gladbach’s French striker Alassane Plea missed a penalty early in the second half and the home side punished the mistake almost immediately through Werner.
Forsberg added one of his own from the spot before Gvardiol sealed the match with ten minutes remaining.
Eintracht Frankfurt missed a chance to put more pressure on the top four, held to a 1-1 draw at home against Stuttgart.
Frankfurt captain Sebastian Rode’s deflected shot had given his side the lead midway through the second half, but Stuttgart striker Silas scored with 15 minutes remaining to see the honours shared.
In the German capital, Hertha Berlin picked up a valuable point in their relegation battle, playing out a 1-1 draw against Mainz.
The draw, set up by a first-half penalty from Jessic Ngankam before Ludovic Ajorque equalised early in the second half, lifted Hertha out of the relegation places.
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