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Who can stop record-breaking Bayern Munich?
Published : 10 Feb 2013 17:47:42
Their 4-0 win over Schalke 04 left them a record 15-points clear at the top of the Bundesliga and ex-Germany goalkeeper Timo Hildebrand spoke for the league by asking: "Who can still stop Bayern Munich?"
Schalke's goalkeeper Hildebrand endured an unpleasant Saturday night at Munich's Allianz Arena on Saturday as left-back David Alaba, 20, scored twice past him in the rout.
Germany midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger and striker Mario Gomez also got on the score sheet as the Bavarians turned their 70 percent possession into goals.
Bayern are sending records tumbling as they cruise towards their 23rd league title.
Although club president Uli Hoeness insisted "there is no reason to break out into euphoria" and chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said the players would be drinking "water, not champagne", the title is now Bayern's to lose.
"I don't know, who can still stop Bayern?" admitted Schalke's Hildebrand, who last played for Germany in 2007, by articulating what most Bundesliga fans are thinking.
Having been run ragged by Bayern's star-studded midfield, Schalke's Roman Neustaedter could only praise Munich as "currently the best side in Europe" with the Bavarians set to end their three-year wait for silverware in May.
Their 15-point lead is a record, as are both the 54 points they have collected, and the seven goals they have conceded, after 21 matches.
They have already set the Bundesliga record for the most wins at the start of a season by beginning the current campaign with eight straight victories.
Captain Philipp Lahm stuck religiously to the party line that the team "will keep looking only at ourselves" in the ruthless bid for perfection and dominance.
Coach Jupp Heynckes admitted although the huge gap is 'comfortable", he will only relax when Munich are confirmed champions.
"We can't allow ourselves to be distracted from our path and will keep playing like that until we can't even be caught in theory," said Heynckes, who will stand down at season's end to be replaced as head coach by Pep Guardiola on July 1.
Bayern are on course to break their own record for the earliest confirmed title win, which they did after 30 games in the 1972/73.
They are also due to to break Borussia Dortmund's record of 81 points, set last season, for the most points collected in a campaign.
The record of 25 victories in a season, equalled by Dortmund last season and set by Bayern in 1972/73, is also in danger.
Bayern's dominance was helped as second-placed Dortmund suffered a shock 4-1 defeat at home to Hamburg while Bayer Leverkusen, third, drew 3-3 at Moenchengladbach on Saturday.
On Sunday, ten-man Mainz 05 were held to a 1-1 draw at strugglers Augsburg to stay fifth in the league table after Hungary striker Adam Szalai's first-half strike was cancelled out by Sascha Moelders' 57th-minute header.
Mainz were reduced to 10 men just before half-time when striker Shawn Parker was shown a harsh red after challenging for the ball with boot high, colliding with Augsburg's USA defender Michael Parkhurst, who was making his league debut.