In the top match of round 13, Schalke looked to hand Bayern Munich their first defeat of the season. For a while, things looked good for the Royal Blues, but the reigning champs were simply too strong, winning 3-1.
Hosts Schalke played with a back five, and attackers Leon Sané and Max Meyer had clearly been instructed to keep an eye on Bayern's Munich fleet-footed wingers, Arjen Robben and Douglas Costa. But there was nothing any of the Royal Blues could do about the goal that put Munich in the lead.
In ninth minute, a Joel Matip clearance landed at David Alaba's feet. The Austrian's shot from just outside the area deflected off Leon Goretzka, leaving keeper Ralf Fährmann up a creek without a paddle.
To their credit, Schalke kept their morale, absorbing waves of Bayern pressure without allowing any first-class goal chances. And they were rewarded in the 17th minute, when Sané stole the ball in his own half. He pressed to Meyer, who juked his way around Philipp Lahm and bounced a shot past Maneul Neuer for the equalizer.
The goal manufactured by the two youngsters was evidence of what this rebuilding Schalke squad is capable of. Although Bayern enjoyed nearly three-quarters of possession, the Royal Blues deserved to be tied one-all at the interval.
"The guys did a fantastic job tactically," Schalke coach André Breitenreiter said after the match. "We did everything we planned, such as double-teaming the players on the wings."
After the break, though, Munich ground down their opponents. As Sané and Meyer began to tire, their forays into Bayern's half petered out increasingly quickly, and although the Bavarians weren't at their incisive best, you sensed that it was only a matter of time until they restored their lead.
The scorer of the goal, when it came 20 minutes from time, was a surprise. Defender Javi Martínez snuck forward, which seemed to confuse Schalke's back-line. The unmarked Spaniard easily headed in a Robben cross.
"We obviously lost track of him," Breitenreiter said. "But I'm not going rip anyone's head off about it."
In the dying seconds, Thomas Müller completed the 3-1 scoreline with a one of those almost blasé Müller goals in which the forward did just enough to squeeze the ball between his marker and Fährmann.
"It's tough to play against five defenders, and Meyer and especially Sané are very fast," Bayern Pep Guardiola said after the match. "But we controlled the second half. So compliments to the team."
Bayern's victory gives them momentum as they try to lock down first place in their Champions League group against Olympiacos Piraeus on Tuesday. The Bavarians have an eight point advantage over second-placed Dortmund. Schalke are seventh in the table.