Robert Lewandowski scored his 23rd league goal of the season on Saturday as runaway Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich went 11 points clear with a 2-0 win at Wolfsburg.
Pep Guardiola’s Bayern now have 62 points out of a possible 69, their tally exactly double that of Wolfsburg, who are eighth.
A tight tussle was settled by second-half goals as Kingsley Coman scored for the first time since November before Lewandowski netted for the 33rd time this season in all competitions.
The Poland hot-shot’s 23 league goals in 22 games keep him as the league’s top scorer.
“That was a clear victory and three important points for us,” said Lewandowski, who scored five goals in nine minutes against Wolfsburg last September.
“I didn’t think about the five goals when I was out there – that’s history.”
With second-placed Borussia Dortmund hosting second-from-bottom Hoffenheim on Sunday, Bayern took the chance to extend their lead.
Both teams came into the Volkswagen Arena clash jaded — Wolfsburg had 12 players either ill or struggling with injury in the build-up.
Fresh from their 2-2 Champions League draw at Juventus in midweek, Bayern again fielded a back four without a recognised centre-back.
Jerome Boateng, Javi Martinez and Holger Badstuber were all again sidelined, but the visitors shut out their hosts.
It was Coman who broke the deadlock approaching the midway point in the second half.
When Lewandowski’s shot headed skywards after being blocked, Coman arrived unmarked in the box to fire home on 66 minutes.
Both sides had their chances as Wolfsburg ‘keeper Koen Casteels, who had flu in midweek, denied Lewandowski and Mueller before Coman beat him.
At the other end, Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer had a busy afternoon, denying Wolfsburg’s German international duo Julian Draxler and Max Kruse.
Lewandowski’s goal was stamped ‘Made in France’ as Coman’s cross was met by substitute Franck Ribery, who flicked the ball on to the striker to fire home on 74 minutes.
In the dying stages, a superb Neuer save denied Kruse’s fierce shot as Wolfsburg sought a consolation.
Elsewhere, bottom side Hanover gained ground in the relegation battle with a shock 2-1 win at Stuttgart after an eight-match losing streak.
Japan midfielder Hiroshi Kiyotake capped his first start since November after injury by setting up both goals for defender Christian Schulz.
It means just three points separate the bottom three sides, but Hanover remain five points from safety.
Swiss striker Josip Drmic scored his first goal for Hamburg in their 1-1 draw at home to Ingolstadt, whose striker Lukas Hinterseer headed an equaliser.
Both sides are in mid-table, but Werder Bremen are deep in the relegation battle despite their 2-2 draw at home to Darmstadt.
Anthony Ujah’s early opener was cancelled out by Darmstadt’s Sandro Wagner, and Aytac Sulu headed Darmstadt ahead on 82 minutes before Claudio Pizarro gave Bremen a 90th-minute equaliser.
On Friday, Hertha Berlin strengthened their grip on third place with a 1-0 victory at Cologne.
Hertha arrived in Cologne without a win in five, but Bosnia striker Vedad Ibisevic scored to hand Pal Dardai’s side their first league victory of 2016.
“It’s nothing against Cologne, but they’ve been one of my favourite teams to play against this season,” said Ibisevic, who also scored twice against the same opponents in a 2-0 win in September.