Bayern Munich demolished Schalke 04 4-0 with two goals from David Alaba to open a 15-point gap at the top of the Bundesliga on Saturday as champions Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen slipped up.
Left back Alaba scored either side of a sensational Bastian Schweinsteiger free kick with Mario Gomez, starting ahead of top scorer Mario Mandzukic, drilling in the fourth as Bayern made it four straight wins this year without conceding a goal.
In another impressive display of fluid, attacking football, Bayern outplayed Schalke, launching an avalanche of pressure from the start and missing several other clear chances as they chase their first title after two failed campaigns.
Bayern move on to 54 points with their 17th win in 21 league games while fellow Champions League competitors Schalke, badly missing a string of injured players and having notched only one win in their last 10 games, dropped to ninth.
"In the first 20 minutes it was tough against a hard-working Schalke defence," Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes told reporters.
"After we scored our first goal I knew Schalke would need to come out a bit more and that is where we played really well. It is great fun working with this team at the moment."
Second-placed Dortmund suffered a surprise 4-1 drubbing at the hands of visiting Hamburg SV to remain on 39 points.
Latvian Artjoms Rudnevs and South Korea international Son Heung-min each scored twice and both teams finished with 10 men after Dortmund's Robert Lewandowski and Hamburg's Jeffrey Bruma were shown straight red cards for foul play.
Borussia Dortmund 1 (Lewandowski 17) Hamburg 4 (Rudnevs 18, 62, Son 26, 89)
Borussia M'gladbach 3 (Stranzl 44, de Jong 58, Herrmann 86) Bayer Leverkusen 3 (Sam 52, Kiessling 60, Schuerrle 64)
VfB Stuttgart 1 (Traore 50) Werder Bremen 4 (Ekici 34, 74, Hunt 60, de Bruyne 90+2)
Hanover 96 1 (Diouf 8) Hoffenheim 0
Greuther Fuerth 0 VfL Wolfsburg 1 (Dost 23)
Eintracht Frankfurt 0 Nuremberg 0
Bayern Munich 4 (Alaba 19-pen, 51, Schweinsteiger 32, Gomez 63) Schalke 04 0