Werder Bremen were hoping for a return to the days when their clashes were Bayern were the premier ties in the Bundesliga. It wasn't to be, as Munich handed them a 4-0 thrashing.
Bayern were not at full strength as they headed north to take on their rivals of yore Werder Bremen. Neither Manuel Neuer nor Arjen Robben nor Franck Ribery made the trip. Pepe Reina, Sebastian Rode and Juan Bernat were their replacements.
Under new coach Viktor Skripnik, Bremen have been the surprise phoenix-from-ashes team of 2015, and they gave Bayern a good fight - for a little while at least. But on the 24-minute mark, Thomas Müller had had enough. After being denied by Raphael Wolf, Bayern's jack-of-all-trades curled in a shot from the edge of the area over the Bremen keeper's head.
And Wolf was beaten again in the dying minutes of the first half. David Alaba showed that all his recent practice with free kicks has paid off, getting a dead ball from just outside the box to clear the wall and dip into goal to give Bayern a 2-0 halftime lead.
There was a brief sing of life from Bremen in minute 64, when the men in green put the ball in the net, but the goal was rightly disallowed for a double hand ball. Thereafter the match generated into a festival of fouls. Robert Lewandowski added a third for Bayern after Clemens Fritz unwisely coughed up the ball. And the Pole bagged his brace in injury time, as Bremen's resistance completely collapsed.
Bayern will also be buoyed by the return from a broken ankle of captain Philipp Lahm, who was substituted on for the final ten minutes of the match.
Hertha hold Schalke
Coming off their impressive, if ultimately futile victory over Real Madrid in the Champions League mid-week, Schalke may have expected an easier time against struggling Hertha Berlin. But the boys from the capital drew first blood after twenty minutes with Änis Ben-Hatira mopped up a rebounded following a hard shot by Valentin Stocker.
Schalke equalized in minute 40, as 19-year-old Leroy Sané launched a run through Berlin's area that left a number of Hertha defenders admiring spectators. Sané crowned his move by chipping keeper Thomas Kraft.
The second half was more or less a stalemate until ten minutes from time, when Schalke's young keeper Timon Wellenreuther once again failed to control a Stocker shot. This time it was Genki Haraguchi who was on hand to put back the rebound. Schalke came back again, however. Joel Matip headed home in the 90th minute to rescue a 2-2 draw and a point for the Royal Blues.
Nonetheless, coach Roberto di Matteo will feel that this was a step back for his team after its heroics in Madrid. Schalke spend another week outside the top four.
The sole consolation for the Royal Blues was that arch-rivals Dortmund did no better - and arguably worse - in their goalless draw at home to Cologne. The Billy Goats' had the best chance of the match, but Anthony Ujah spurned it. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put the ball in the net in minute 75, but it was ruled out for a laughably obvious hand ball. Those were the two talking points in a match nearly devoid of highlights.
Hoffenheim hammer Hamburg
Hamburg started their match against Hoffenheim with the same sort of hardnosed defensive approach that has drawn criticism of overly rough play from opponents recently. But the park-the-bus strategy was undone midway through the first half, when keeper Jaroslav Drobny brought down Sven Schipplock in the area, earning himself a red card and conceding a penalty. Eugen Polanski bested substitute keeper René Adler from the spot.
And it was Polanski who salted away the three points for Hoffenheim although he had to wait an hour to do so with a hard left foot-shot. Sebastian Rudy completed Hamburg's 3-0 misery in the dying minutes.
Meanwhile, the league's leading scorer Alex Meier notched up another goal – his nineteenth of the season – to help Frankfurt to a clear win over Paderborn. Meier's unmarked header came after 20 minutes. A bit before the break Marc Stendera doubled the advantage for Frankfurt who was the dominant side in the match.
Seven minutes after the restart, the Eagles put the result beyond reach. Stefan Aigner was sent through and slotted the ball home between keeper Lukas Kruse's legs. On 82 minutes, Nelson Valdez returned from long-term injury to round off the 4-0 drubbing.
In Augsburg, after a relatively even start, Shinji Okazaki broke the ice for visitors Mainz, nutmegging Augsburg keeper Marwin Hitz on the half-hour mark. And Ja-Cheol Koo found his range in the dying minutes to give Mainz a 2-0 win and three valuable points in the relegation fight.