Holders Bayern Munich look to move another step closer to retaining their Champions League title when they face Lazio, while Atletico Madrid and Chelsea do battle in Bucharest on Tuesday.

Bayern cruised into the round of 16 as Group A winners, claiming five victories and a draw in six games, and will be expected to knock Serie A side Lazio out, although they will arrive in Rome on the back of a 2-1 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt.

Lazio and the Bundesliga leaders will lock horns at Stadio Olimpico in the first leg, but there will be no home advantage for Atleti when they take on Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea.

Coronavirus-related travel restrictions meant the game was moved to the National Arena in the capital of Romania, which Tuchel believes will give his side an advantage.

We used Opta numbers to preview the two clashes.

 

Atletico Madrid v Chelsea: Suarez not yet off the mark

If history is anything to go by, it could be difficult to pick a winner in this tie as the two sides have won two apiece and drawn three of their previous European games - scoring 11 goals each.

Atleti have reached the knockout stages of the Champions League for the seventh time in the last eight seasons. Chelsea will attempt to progress past the round of 16 for the first time since the 2013-14 campaign, when they lost to Diego Simeone's men in the semi-finals.

Luis Suarez has never failed to score or deliver an assist in a Champions League season – this is his eighth campaign in the tournament. The striker has not scored or laid a goal on in his four Champions League games for Atleti.

Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud found the net every 28 minutes on average in the group stage this term (five goals in 142 minutes), the best ratio of any player to score more than once.

Among the goalkeepers to play at least three Champions League games this season, Chelsea's Edouard Mendy has the best save percentage in the competition (94 per cent), only conceding from one of the 16 shots on target he has faced.

Lazio v Bayern Munich: Holders out to complete another Italian job

Lazio have only lost one of their six Champions League matches against German opposition (W2 D3) and remain unbeaten at home.

However, Bayern are unbeaten in their previous five Champions League away games against Italian sides (W3 D2). Their two visits to Stadio Olimpico in the competition have produced 13 goals, including a 7-1 victory against Roma in October 2014.

The Bavarian giants have reached the knockout stages for the 13th consecutive season, only Real Madrid (24) and Barcelona (17) are on longer runs.

Bayern have also won 16 of their past 17 Champions League games (D1), with an overall goal difference of +48 (61 goals for, 13 against) – that is four more wins than any other side over that period (Paris Saint-Germain have won 12).

While Ciro Immobile – eight goals in nine Champions League starts – will be Lazio's dangerman, Bayern's talisman needs no introduction.

Robert Lewandowski has 31 goals in 33 Champions League appearances since the start of 2017-18, more than any other player – Cristiano Ronaldo is second with 29 in 34 outings.

Bayern Munich's stranglehold on top spot in the Bundesliga has been loosened after they suffered a 2-1 defeat at Amin Younes-inspired Eintracht Frankfurt, who were without top-scorer Andre Silva.

It was Bayern's first visit to Frankfurt since the 5-1 defeat in November 2019 that cost Niko Kovac his job, and while this defeat is unlikely to have similar ramifications for Hansi Flick, it was a similarly frustrating day for the champions.

Bayern came into the game having picked up a league-high 19 points from losing positions this term and they were once again forced into such a position after Kamada's well-worked opener and Younes' gorgeous second left them 2-0 down at the interval.

Flick's men dominated the second half after Robert Lewandowski pulled one back in the 53rd minute but they failed to add to that, meaning RB Leipzig can close to within two points of the leaders with a win at Hertha Berlin on Sunday.

An early strain suffered by one of the officials and a subsequent lengthy delay did little to upset Eintracht's flow and they deservedly went ahead in the 12th minute, Filip Kostic latching on to Younes' clever reverse ball in behind Leroy Sane and teeing up Kamada for an easy finish.

Younes then shot agonisingly wide from inside his own half with Manuel Neuer stranded soon after, though Bayern had no such fortune just past the half-hour mark, the Napoli-owned midfielder cutting in off the left and arrowing a sensational strike into the top-far corner.

Bayern finished the half better but a goal still eluded them, with Kevin Trapp making necessary saves to deny Kingsley Coman and Lewandowski, before Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting's late flick just missed the post.

The visitors looked sharper at the start of the second half and soon got themselves a lifeline, Lewandowski turning in from close range after Sane left the Eintracht defence in knots.

That pattern of Bayern dominance continued for much of the second half, with Leon Goretzka heading just off target, Coman forcing Trapp into action with a looping volley and the Frenchman also somehow missing the target a few yards out.

Eintracht might have got a third on the break were it not for Neuer saving brilliantly from Kostic, though it mattered not for the hosts, who held on to the win that keeps them level with third-placed Wolfsburg.

Erling Haaland became the fastest player to reach 10 goals for one team in Champions League history as he played a leading role for Borussia Dortmund against Sevilla on Wednesday.  

The Norwegian was on target twice in the opening half as Dortmund impressively recovered after falling behind in the first leg of the last-16 tie.  

Suso's seventh-minute opener put Sevilla on top, only for Mahmoud Dahoud to equalise with a long-range attempt.  

Haaland bravely converted Jadon Sancho's throughball to put the visitors ahead at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, then added another before the break as he clinically finished off a flowing counter-attacking move, placing in a shot from Marco Reus' pass.  

The two-goal salvo lifted him to double figures for Dortmund in the Champions League in just his seventh appearance. Roy Makaay was previously the quickest to do so for one club, managing it in 10 games for Bayern Munich.

For a third successive European game, Haaland managed to score a brace. He had also found the net twice in back-to-back fixtures against Club Brugge in the group stage. Only four other players have achieved the feat, with the 20-year-old joining illustrious company. 

Cristiano Ronaldo has managed it no fewer than three times, along with former Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski, Bayern legend Giovane Elber and two-time Champions League winner Filippo Inzaghi.

Haaland now has 18 goals in 13 appearances in the competition – a tally that only Lewandowski can match since the start of the 2019-20 season.

To put his scoring exploits in perspective, Ronaldo failed to find the net in his first 13 Champions League games, while Lionel Messi managed three goals across the same number.

Bayern Munich battled back to claim a 3-3 draw against Arminia Bielefeld in a storm-laden Bundesliga thriller. 

Greeted by heavy snow on their return from Club World Cup glory, Bayern were caught cold by their relegation-threatened opponents as debutant Michel Vlap and Amos Pieper stunningly gave Arminia a 2-0 half-time lead. 

Robert Lewandowski scored his 25th Bundesliga goal of the season in sumptuous fashion three minutes into the second period, although substitute Christian Gebauer swiftly replied for Uwe Neuhaus' men. 

Corentin Tolisso and Alphonso Davies continued the flow of easy-on-the-eye goals, but Bayern could not find a winner. 

Manuel Prietl reacted quickest when Cedric Brunner's ninth-minute long throw was partially cleared and Vlap - a loan signing from Anderlecht - controlled his drilled pass superbly before emphatically smashing beyond Manuel Neuer. 

Bayern had the chance to regroup shortly afterwards as snow was swept off the pitch lines and the officials reverted to orange match balls. 

Tolisso almost capitalised when Leroy Sane swung a cross through the blizzard to cause confusion in the Arminia box. 

But Bayern were left with a snow-covered mountain to climb when Pieper was left unchallenged to head home Vlap's left-wing corner for his first ever Bundesliga goal. 

The groundstaff hurried along a half-time thaw, allowing Bayern to make their class tell early in the second half. 

Stefan Ortega Moreno got down sharply to thwart Sane before Lewandowski's exquisite chest control and volleyed finish from David Alaba's chip left the goalkeeper with no chance. 

Remarkably, Arminia restored their two-goal advantage within a minute - Andreas Voglsammer tearing past Bouna Sarr to deliver a pinpoint low cross that gave Gebauer - another man opening his account for the club - a simple finish. 

Sane and Tolisso combined again for the latter to head home before the hour, while Kingsley Coman was providing a similar threat from the other wing as he had a venomous drive tipped over. 

In the 70th minute Sane got to the byline and his right-footed cross was cleared only as far as Davies, who fizzed a magnificent half-volley into the bottom left corner.

Back came Bielefeld and a marginal offside against Fabian Klos denied Sergio Cordova a fourth, before they held out for the point their endeavours deserved.

Robert Lewandowski claimed Bayern Munich's sextuple success is special not only for the Bundesliga giants but football around the globe.

Bayern scraped past CONCACAF champions Tigres UANL 1-0 in Qatar on Thursday to clinch their second Club World Cup title.

It marked the sixth trophy Bayern have won in Hansi Flick's tenure, with that list also including last season's Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League and this term's UEFA Super Cup and DFL-Supercup.

Lewandowski, who scooped The Best FIFA Men's Player award for 2020, has been integral and played a key part in Bayern's win over Tigres as he forced Nahuel Guzman to flap at a cross, allowing Benjamin Pavard to lash in the decisive goal.

"The six-pack is something special, a great story – not only for Bayern Munich, for all of football," Lewandowski told reporters.

"The way we played, that will stay for a long, long time."

Bayern are the first team since Pep Guardiola's Barcelona, in 2009, to complete a clean sweep of every trophy on offer.

"Congratulations to my team, they have achieved something historic with their sixth title," Flick said.

"This is also the best season for the successful Bayern. There was a lot of unrest in the last few days but they still played outstandingly well.

"We are all very, very proud of the team. It is outstanding what they have achieved."

Bayern had to overcome Tigres without a handful of key players; Javi Martinez and Leon Goretzka did not travel to Qatar as they recover from COVID-19, with Thomas Muller then returning a positive result, while Jerome Boateng has had to return to Germany for personal reasons.

Their performance was unconvincing at times, but they ultimately had the quality to get through, with Tigres only managing one attempt on target and failing to muster a single effort after half-time.

Joshua Kimmich turned in another star performance in the centre of the park, having a stunning goal harshly disallowed and creating a game-high four chances, but the Germany maestro regretted that Muller – who is isolating – was unable to take part.

 "It was bitter for Thomas Muller that he wasn't there," Kimmich said. "We also got the win for him and all the others who couldn't be with us."

Bayern Munich completed a year of dominance by collecting the Club World Cup on Thursday, beating Tigres UANL 1-0 in the final.

Victory in Qatar, courtesy of Benjamin Pavard's scrappy second-half goal, clinched a sixth trophy in under 12 months.

Bayern started a 23-match winning run in all competitions this time last year, winning the Bundesliga, DFB Pokal, Champions League and UEFA Super Cup in this time.

They added the DFL-Supercup immediately after seeing that streak ended in September, then completed the set by beating Tigres.

Hansi Flick's side went one better than Bayern's 2013 team, who collected five titles - losing to Borussia Dortmund in the domestic Supercup.

The Bavarian giants were dominant last season and have continued to collect results this term, led by a star-studded cast, as we can see with Opta data.
 

FLICK'S MEN ALMOST FLAWLESS

Going back 12 months to the start of that remarkable winning stretch, Bayern have played 53 matches in all competitions, winning 46 of them.

In fact, they lost games just twice in the last year, to Hoffenheim 4-1 and Borussia Monchengladbach 3-2, both in the Bundesliga, although there was also a penalty shootout defeat to Holstein Kiel that ensured they will not defend their Pokal crown this season.

While dominating, Bayern have mainly been a great watch, scoring 157 goals (2.96 per game) and conceding 51 (0.96 per game). Indeed, those 53 games yielded only 21 Bayern clean sheets.

The standout results were obvious, scoring eight in games against both Barcelona and Schalke, but they also netted six versus Hoffenheim and Salzburg, plus five in clashes with Eintracht Frankfurt (twice), Fortuna Dusseldorf and Mainz.
 

OLD GUARD THE STANDOUT STARS

Bayern have a wealth of exciting young talents, but they relied heavily on their experienced campaigners over this glorious stretch.

Thomas Muller (51), Manuel Neuer (50) and David Alaba (48) led Bayern in appearances over the past year. Neuer was named in the starting XI on the most occasions - every time he played.

Robert Lewandowski has been unsurprisingly the leading marksman with his 49 goals in 45 games, but Joshua Kimmich came to the fore in terms of assists, his 23 - along with nine goals - coming from 43 matches.

Kimmich had one more assist than Muller, despite the forward creating 141 chances to his team-mate's 108.

With Neuer playing all but three of the 53 matches, he accounted for 20 of Bayern's 21 clean sheets - Alexander Nubel earned the other - and made 139 saves.

Niklas Sule, at 91.9 per cent of 1,656, was the most accurate passer to start a game, although he trailed the team's most prominent passers by some distance; Alaba played 3,743 at 88.2 per cent accuracy.

Alaba (4,210) also led the way in terms of touches ahead of Kimmich (4,089), who was beaten in terms of tackles by the slightly surprising figure of Serge Gnabry (76).

Hansi Flick believes success in the Club World Cup will be "very special" as he closes in on a sixth trophy in just 68 matches as Bayern Munich coach.

Bayern comfortably dealt with CAF Champions League winners Al Ahly in their semi-final on Monday, with Robert Lewandowski getting both goals in a 2-0 win.

The Polish striker, who moved to 29 goals for the season with that brace, made it 1-0 in the 17th minute and eventually put the game beyond Al Ahly in the latter stages, though the Egyptian champions rarely looked a threat to Die Roten.

In Thursday's final Bayern will face Tigres, who defeated Copa Libertadores winners Palmeiras 1-0 on Sunday to become the first CONCACAF side to reach the final of the Club World Cup.

French striker Andre-Pierre Gignac got the winner from the spot against Palmeiras, his sixth successive goal-scoring appearance, and Bayern know they cannot afford to be complacent.

"I watched their semi-final, Tigres are a very dynamic team, very athletic, with a lot of power. We have to counter that well in the final," Flick said when asked about Ricardo Ferretti's team.

"If we win the final on Thursday, the team will have finished an outstanding season with a sixth title.

"That would be a very special success in the successful history of FC Bayern. We now have to collect ourselves as quickly as possible and recover quickly in order to be able to be again at 100 per cent on Thursday."

Thomas Muller echoed the sentiment of his coach, reminding the rest of the Bayern team that their mission still needs to be accomplished.

"We are happy that we did not miss anything and have achieved our [first] goal," he added. "Now we have the chance that we really wanted to work for: winning the Club World Cup."

Bayern won the competition in their only previous participation in 2013.

That was the beginning of streak of European dominance in the Club World Cup, with all six iterations since then won by teams from the continent.

Chelsea were the last European side to lose out in the Club World Cup in 2012, as they were defeated 1-0 by Corinthians in the final.

Bayern Munich secured their place in the Club World Cup final thanks to a straightforward 2-0 win over Al Ahly, with Robert Lewandowski getting both goals.

The German and European champions were not at their spectacular best but looked comfortable throughout, doing enough to earn a shot at lifting the trophy for a second time.

Bayern dominated the first half almost from start to finish but could only take a 1-0 lead into the break, Lewandowski getting his 28th goal of the season, and Al Ahly appeared encouraged after half-time.

However, the Egyptians did not have the quality to cause Bayern any sustained worries and Lewandowski sealed the win late on, with Hansi Flick taking his team to another final as he looks to make it six titles won in just 68 matches at the helm when they meet Tigres of Mexico in the showpiece.

It did not take Bayern long to establish control, as Serge Gnabry received Kinglsey Coman's cross and showed great awareness to calmly tee up Lewandowski for a simple finish in the 17th minute.

Further Bayern chances came thick and fast for the remainder of the first half, but the Germans were wasteful – Marc Roca shot wide and then also straight at Mohamed El-Shenawy in a two-minute spell, before Alphonso Davies dragged a right-footed effort past the left-hand post just before the break.

But Lewandowski was the surprising culprit a few moments prior to Davies' chance, as the Best FIFA Men's Player award winner lifted a chipped effort over the goal from inside the box after a clever release from Joshua Kimmich.

Ah Ahly looked a little more dangerous during the early stages of the second half, though Bayern were still unfortunate not to increase their lead when Thomas Muller agonisingly failed to reach David Alaba's across-goal header.

Bayern began to up the pressure again towards the end, with Ayman Ashraf almost slicing a cross into his own net, before Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting headed at El-Shenawy and Corentin Tolisso shot just over from distance.

Although an equaliser looked unlikely, Bayern made sure of the win five minutes from time as Leroy Sane dug out a cross from the right and Lewandowski was on hand for the simplest of headers.
 

 

Kingsley Coman's deflected goal gave Bayern Munich a 1-0 win over Hertha Berlin in their final Bundesliga outing before the Club World Cup.

Amid heavy snowfall at the Olympiastadion, Coman scored in the 21st minute after the returning Rune Jarstein – making his first league appearance since June – became just the second Bundesliga goalkeeper to save a penalty from Robert Lewandowski.

Dodi Lukebakio and Krzysztof Piatek had chances for Hertha in Pal Dardai's first home game since taking over as head coach for a second time but Bayern held on for the win.

Hansi Flick's side consequently opened up a 10-point lead at the summit over RB Leipzig, who face bottom side Schalke on Saturday.

Manuel Neuer did well to keep out Lukebakio and Jarstein matched him by denying Leroy Sane, but he tripped the former Manchester City winger to concede an early penalty.

Lewandowski was unable to score from the spot, though, as his run of 16 straight converted penalties in all competitions ended with a redeeming moment for Jarstein.

However, there was nothing the Hertha keeper could do when Coman's shot from just outside the box deflected off Niklas Stark and looped into the back of the net.

Lewandowski was denied by Jarstein before World Cup winner Sami Khedira came off the bench to make his Hertha debut.

Matheus Cunha had a chance to snatch a point for the hosts when he was released by Matteo Guendouzi in the 89th minute but his dink over Neuer drifted just wide.


What does it mean? Bayern show vulnerability

With Javi Martinez and Leon Goretzka absent following positive COVID-19 tests, Joshua Kimmich anchored the midfield alone behind a quartet of Coman, Sane, Thomas Muller and Serge Gnabry while Corentin Tolisso, Marc Roca and Jamal Musiala sat on the bench.

Unsurprisingly that left Flick's side vulnerable on the counter-attack and Neuer was forced to make five saves in the first half of a Bundesliga game for just the second time in his Bayern career.

Hertha were unable to take their chances and Flick will likely have his experienced options available again when they return to Bundesliga duty against Arminia Bielefeld a week on Monday.

No beating Neuer

Things could have been very different had Neuer not got a foot to Lukebakio's third-minute effort. The Germany international made seven saves in total to record his 16th Bundesliga clean sheet against Hertha – a record for any goalkeeper against one particular opponent, having surpassed Oliver Reck's 15 against Borussia Monchengladbach.

Lewandowski runs end

After scoring in nine successive Bundesliga matchdays, Lewandowski failed to find the back of the net against Hertha despite taking a penalty. He was also unable to extend his record run of scoring in eight consecutive top-flight away matches.

What's next?

Bayern go from the snow of Berlin to the sun of Qatar with a Club World Cup semi-final meeting with Al Ahly on Monday. Hertha will look to end their six-game winless run at Stuttgart on Saturday week.

Robert Lewandowski scored one goal and made another as Bayern Munich increased their lead at the top of the Bundesliga with a 4-1 victory over Hoffenheim.

The defending champions nosed, briefly at least, 10 points ahead of RB Leipzig as they aim to secure a ninth successive title.

Hoffenheim offered plenty of threat and Ihlas Bebou should have done better with two gilt-edged chances, with his profligacy punished by Jerome Boateng and Thomas Muller.

Bebo atoned by teeing up Andrej Kramaric to volley in his first away league goal at Bayern on the stroke of half-time, but quickfire strikes from Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry ensured a fourth straight Bundesliga win for Hansi Flick's team.

Hoffenheim stunned Bayern 4-1 early in the campaign and Bebou could have put them ahead in the opening stages on Saturday, but Manuel Neuer came to the hosts' rescue.

Though Muller hit the crossbar at the other end, it was Hoffenheim who should have taken the lead – Bebou heading wide from close range – and he was made to pay in the 32nd minute when Boateng headed in Joshua Kimmich's outswinging corner.

Bayern seemed to be heading into half-time with a two-goal cushion when Muller's rather scuffed effort at the culmination of Lewandowski's mazy run found its way into the bottom-right corner, yet Hoffenheim struck back 74 seconds later when Kramajic steered Bebou's cross beyond Neuer.

Unperturbed by conceding, Bayern were straight back on the front foot after the restart and their third goal came shortly before the hour, with Lewandowski on hand to capitalise on poor defending.

Kingsley Coman's cross had caused havoc in the build-up to Lewandowski's 24th league goal of 2020-21 and the Frenchman turned provider again six minutes later as he slipped in Gnabry to wrap up the points.

Benjamin Pavard thought he had added further gloss with a sensational strike from 20 yards out, only for VAR to disallow it due to Leroy Sane drifting offside, with Neuer pulling off an exceptional save to deny Pavel Kaderabek a late consolation.


What does it mean? Bayern looking ominous

With RB Leipzig featuring in Saturday's late Bundesliga game, Bayern could enjoy, however briefly, the feeling of being 10 points clear.

Despite some defensive lapses proving costly this season, Bayern simply have far too much going forward for the rest of the league to handle. They have already scored 57 goals across their 19 Bundesliga games, and they have never let such a big lead slip in the second half of a season since the introduction of three points per win.

Muller and Lewy lead the way

Lewandowski is still Bayern’s talisman, but he is being superbly supported by Muller, whose resurgence under Flick has been a joy to behold.

Poland star Lewandowski toyed with Hoffenheim's defence before laying it off to Muller to drag in Bayern's second. Muller has now hit 10 goals in the league this season, his best tally since the 2015-16 season (20).

Bebou shows his best and worst

Bayern struggled to cope with Bebou's pace and power in the early exchanges, but the Hoffenheim forward really should have done better with his chances – the two attempts he managed.

On the other hand, Sebastian Hoeness will take the positives from the 26-year-old creating a joint team-high three opportunities, including his superb assist for Kramaric's volley.

What's next?

Bayern travel to Hertha on Friday, while Hoffenheim host Eintracht Frankfurt two days later.

Robert Lewandowski scored one goal and made another as Bayern Munich increased their lead at the top of the Bundesliga with a 4-1 victory over Hoffenheim.

The defending champions nosed, briefly at least, 10 points ahead of RB Leipzig as they aim to secure a ninth successive title.

Hoffenheim offered plenty of threat and Ihlas Bebou should have done better with two gilt-edged chances, with his profligacy punished by Jerome Boateng and Thomas Muller.

Bebo atoned by teeing up Andrej Kramaric to volley in his first away league goal at Bayern on the stroke of half-time, but quickfire strikes from Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry ensured a fourth straight Bundesliga win for Hansi Flick's team.

Hoffenheim stunned Bayern 4-1 early in the campaign and Bebou could have put them ahead in the opening stages on Saturday, but Manuel Neuer came to the hosts' rescue.

Though Muller hit the crossbar at the other end, it was Hoffenheim who should have taken the lead – Bebou heading wide from close range – and he was made to pay in the 32nd minute when Boateng headed in Joshua Kimmich's outswinging corner.

Bayern seemed to be heading into half-time with a two-goal cushion when Muller's rather scuffed effort at the culmination of Lewandowski's mazy run found its way into the bottom-right corner, yet Hoffenheim struck back 74 seconds later when Kramajic steered Bebou's cross beyond Neuer.

Unperturbed by conceding, Bayern were straight back on the front foot after the restart and their third goal came shortly before the hour, with Lewandowski on hand to capitalise on poor defending.

Kingsley Coman's cross had caused havoc in the build-up to Lewandowski's 24th league goal of 2020-21 and the Frenchman turned provider again six minutes later as he slipped in Gnabry to wrap up the points.

Benjamin Pavard thought he had added further gloss with a sensational strike from 20 yards out, only for VAR to disallow it due to Leroy Sane drifting offside, with Neuer pulling off an exceptional save to deny Pavel Kaderabek a late consolation.

Robert Lewandowski became the first player in Bundesliga history to score in eight successive away games and Thomas Muller scored twice as leaders Bayern Munich cruised to a 4-0 win over Schalke.

Second-place RB Leipzig suffered a shock loss to Mainz 05 on Saturday and Bayern took full advantage at the Veltins-Arena on Sunday, moving seven points clear at the top.

Schalke are bottom of the table with one win all season but they more than matched the European champions before Muller's 33rd-minute breakthrough.

Muller doubled his tally late on after Lewandowski had scored his latest record-breaking goal early in the second half, before David Alaba added further gloss at the death.

The division's leading scorer Lewandowski glanced over the crossbar from close range early on before a better chance came and went for Mark Uth, who headed straight at Manuel Neuer from five yards out.

Ralf Fahrmann was called into action with a fine double save to keep out Lewandowski's free-kick and Serge Gnabry's follow-up attempt. 

Gnabry went close again when glancing the side-netting with a header he should have put away, but Bayern were in front seven minutes later through Muller's powerful header. 

The attacking midfielder met Joshua Kimmich's back-post delivery and made no mistake in beating Fahrmann for his eighth league goal of the campaign. 

Gnabry thought he had added a quickfire second after Leroy Sane's initial effort was parried, only for the offside flag to go up against the former Schalke winger.

But the Bavarian giants did double their advantage early in the second period as Lewandowski controlled Kimmich's long ball, held off two defenders and slotted under Fahrmann.

It is the 11th successive Bundesliga game in which Lewandowski has scored against Schalke and he nearly added another, dragging wide from 18 yards 20 minutes from time.

Schalke are now without a win against Bayern in 21 league matches and badly faded in the closing stages, with Muller heading in from another Kimmich delivery and Alaba adding a fourth with a 30-yard drive that squirmed under Fahrmann.

Robert Lewandowski has his work cut out to match Gerd Muller's Bundesliga goals record but Bayern Munich will do all they can to make it happen, Hansi Flick has said.

Muller hit 40 goals for Bayern in the 1971-72 season, a mark that is firmly in the sights of Lewandowski after he began the campaign with 22 goals in Bayern's first 17 games.

Speaking ahead of Bayern's trip to face Schalke on Sunday, in a clash of the top and bottom teams in the German top flight, Flick spoke of how he used to idolise the legendary Muller.

As leaders Bayern pursue a ninth consecutive Bundesliga title, the prospect of Lewandowski challenging Muller is drawing plenty of attention, and Flick indicated the team would love it to happen.

"Gerd Muller was my role model," said Flick. "Unfortunately, I've never scored as many goals as he did, I wasn't as lethal, maybe at the beginning in the youth teams.

"He was a striker who was always ready to accept balls outside the box and you could combine together with him. He was wonderful in front of goal.

"For Robert to have scored more goals than him in the first half of the season shows his quality and that the team keep supporting him to end up in situations where he can score goals.

"I think about the 1-0 against Freiburg, which was a genius attacking move via Serge Gnabry and Thomas Muller, who immediately passed the ball to him. Their alignment was perfect.

"We all know, and Robert knows this too, that a lot of things need to be in place to continue like this. We're working on it.

"We have to support Robert and he is important to the team. He has certain tasks within the team and if he does them well, it is easier for the team to assist him at goalscoring.

"I would wish he could manage 40 but Gerd Muller is really something special."

Muller is suffering with Alzheimer's disease and is said to be living in a nursing home.

"We all know how Gerd Muller is doing, that also makes you sad," Flick said.

Bayern will face a Schalke team who are showing flickers of life at the foot of the table, and who brought Klaas Jan Huntelaar back to the club this week from Ajax.

Huntelaar, at the age of 37 and ready to retire at the end of the season, has rejoined Schalke because he could not bear being unable to help them in the battle to avoid relegation.

He previously had a seven-year spell with the club and, much like Lewandowski, has a proven nose for goal.

The veteran Dutch striker could have a role to play this weekend, with Schalke coach Christian Gross saying on Friday: "I think that Klaas Jan will be part of the squad against Bayern. He's a good option for the bench."

Robert Lewandowski was brought off in the second half of Bayern Munich's edgy 1-0 victory against Augsburg as a precaution, head coach Hansi Flick confirmed.

Lewandowski scored the 13th-minute penalty that ultimately secured the three points for Bundesliga champions Bayern at the Augsburg Arena on Wednesday.

However, superstar striker Lewandowski was substituted after 67 minutes and Bayern were left grateful for a spot-kick miss from Alfred Finnbogason midweek.

Flick explained the surprising decision was because Lewandowski has been managing an issue with his thigh.

"[It was] to be on the safe side because Robert is very important to us. We didn't want to take any risks," Flick said in quotes reported by SID.

"He already said this morning that he could feel something in the thigh muscles on the back, but [he felt] that he could control it quite well."

Bayern were brilliant in the opening period but struggled in the second half in a theme of only playing well in patches that has become rather familiar in recent weeks.

Back-to-back wins and a first clean sheet since October followed a loss to Borussia Monchengladbach and a shock DFB-Pokal exit to second-tier Holsten Kiel, with Bayern's performances well below their best.

Flick, though, said even a team like Bayern – who won a superb treble in 2019-20 – can hit a "limit" in what has been a testing period.

"The team played an outstanding year, at some point they too are at their limit," he added to Sky Germany, with Bayern four points clear atop the table. 

"It was a bit of luck against Freiburg in the end, but very important. We [wanted] to add more today and take three points with us to Munich."

Bayern Munich's luck was in as a story of two penalties was the main tale in their 1-0 win over Augsburg in Tuesday's Bundesliga contest.

Robert Lewandowski calmly slotted home from the spot after 13 minutes at Augsburg Arena and missed a glut of chances in a first half dominated by the champions.

It was a completely different outlook for Bayern after the break, though, and Hansi Flick's side were left breathing a sigh of relief when Alfred Finnbogason struck the post with a penalty of his own 15 minutes from time.

The end result means Bayern remain four points clear at the top but Flick will want to see fewer of the Jekyll-and-Hyde performances that have been on display in recent weeks from his side.

Rani Khedira's clumsy kick on Lucas Hernandez allowed Lewandowski to find the bottom-right corner with a cool 13th-minute penalty that looked like setting the tone for a dominant win.

Serge Gnabry was denied by the busy Rafal Gikiewicz and Thomas Muller put the rebound narrowly wide as Bayern peppered the hosts' goal.

Gnabry was kept out again by Gikiewicz before teeing up Lewandowski, who was guilty of wastefulness a couple of times, with the Pole only hitting the outside of the post with the goal gaping.

A second half completely at odds with the first saw Bayern struggle to create openings and Daniel Caligiuri's long-range effort would have briefly had away hearts in mouths before rising comfortably over.

There was an even greater left-off shortly after when substitute Finnbogason fluffed his lines from the spot after Benjamin Pavard had been pinged for handball from Iago's flick in the area.

Muller had the ball in the net but Jamal Musiala clearly ran the ball out in the act of setting him up, before Florian Niederlechner skewed wide and Felix Uduokhai headed over in further late scares that a lacklustre Bayern ultimately survived.

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