With workmanlike efficiency, FC Bayern Munich won their 14th game in a row on Sunday. Does anyone have a chance at unseating them as champions?
The 1-0 win against Hanover was nothing pretty, something even captain Oliver Kahn was ready to admit.
"I guess that's what you would call a workmanlike victory," he said, following a game which featured few goal shots and a Hanover team that played defensively virtually the entire time.
But the win meant something special for Bayern Munich, Germany's most decorated club. Their 14 wins in a row are a Bundesliga record, breaking the 13-win run by - guess who? - Bayern Munich in 1981.
In fact, the run seems to only confirm what many are thinking (fearing?) at the moment - that Bayern Munich, last year's champion, are unstoppable in the Bundesliga. It's not just the fact that they are winning, it's how they are winning.
Winning even without Ballack
Ballack's ankle injury has kept him out of the last two games
Dutch striker Roy Makaay has started the season with a bang, tearing off six goals in the first five games. Even without star Michael Ballack, who controls and directs Bayern's attack from midfield but has been injured for the last two matches, the Munich team has enough reserves to shut down seemingly any Bundesliga competitor.
The comment from trainer Felix Magath that "we're not playing at our level at the moment" is likely to send more chills down the spines of Bundesliga's champions-in-waiting.
Of the top three teams behind Bayern at the moment, only Werder Bremen, 2004's champions, seem like serious competition. The team under trainer Thomas Schaaf has an uncanny ability to rebound from the loss of key position players to bigger, more moneyed teams each year. The team plays smooth, high-scoring soccer that keeps them near the top of the table.
Schalke's slow start
Schalke 04, which invested tens of millions of euros ahead of this season with the expressed purpose of taking the crown away from Bayern has so far seen little return. After some attractive soccer at the beginning, Ralf Rangnick's team has faltered in recent weeks. They have managed only ties against Borussia Mönchengladbach, Bayer Leverkusen and Hertha Berlin - none of which is having particularly good starts to their seasons.
Ralf Rangnick's side has had a less-than-stellar start
Rangnick said in an interview that his team can only unseat Bayern "if we play to our absolute limit and Bayern has a moment of two of weakness. At the moment, we're weak."