It was business as usual as Bayern Munich opened the second half of the Bundesliga season with a 3-0 win over Hamburg SV in the Olympic Stadium on Friday.
Claudio Pizarro (No.14) celebrates his opening goal with Roy Makaay
It was as if they hadn't been away. While they suffered a few minor scares and were forced to fight some hard battles, Bayern Munich showed the rest of the Bundesliga that there was no over indulgence over Christmas by taking off where they had finished. Hamburg SV were no match for the league leaders who battled to a 3-0 victory in the Olympic Stadium on Friday night.
The winter break didn't seem to have any adverse effects on Felix Magath's side as goals from Claudio Pizarro, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Roy Makaay secured the points and kept Bayern on top of the league ahead of Schalke 04 who play on Saturday.
Hamburg could have beaten a different side on any other day. They ran hard, played neat passing movements and threatened Oliver Kahn's goal on many occassions but Bayern were different class.
Pizarro's looping header in the first half looked to be a crowning moment of the game but the exquisite one-two between Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mehmet Scholl which opened up the defense in the early minutes of the second half eclipsed that. The young bayern man fought off two defenders to squeeze a shot under HSV keeper Pieckenhagen for the second goal.
Then it was the master finisher Makaay who iced the cake. A sublime lob from a long Thorsten Frings through ball made it 3-0 and crowned an exhibition performance.
Three goals down and Hamburg's spirited challenge was over. The impressive midfielder Barbarez, Hamburg's best player on the day, toiled tirelessly to the end but the back of the HSV team was broken.
Bayern are now three points ahead of their nearest challengers, Schalke 04. The Royal Blues take on reigning champions Werder Bremen in the top game on Saturday.