BERLIN Bayern Munich made it seven wins out of seven in the Bundesliga on Saturday as two goals from Franck Ribery led them to a 2-0 win over a toothless Hoffenheim in an embarrassingly one-sided match.
Having slumped to a shock defeat at BATE Borisov in the Champions League on Tuesday, Bayern barely broke sweat in a tepid encounter at the Allianz Arena.
Dutchman Ibrahim Afellay scored his first goal for Schalke 04 in their 3-0 win over VfL Wolfsburg, who are managed by Schalke's former coach Felix Magath, and Hamburg SV continued their climb up the table by winning 1-0 at Greuther Fuerth.
Mainz beat Fortuna Duesseldorf 1-0 with an 85th minute goal by Macedonia defender Nikolce Noveski to end the promoted side's unbeaten record and Freiburg beat Nuremberg 3-0 to hand their opponents a fourth defeat in a row.
Bayern are top with 21 points, five ahead of Eintracht Frankfurt, who visit Borussia Moenchengladbach on Sunday, while Schalke are third with 14.
The Bundesliga is often claimed to be the most open and competitive league in Europe but that did not look the case in Munich where Hoffenheim, who have lost all nine of their league meetings with Bayern, seemed to have no ambition or hope of ending that run.
"We dominated the match and prevented Hoffenheim creating any chances," Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes told reporters.
"We were highly motivated and took control right from the start. Once we'd taken the lead, I knew our forwards were always good for another goal."
Ribery opened the scoring with his first Bundesliga goal of the season when he slipped past his marker and scored with a low shot which slipped through the legs of goalkeeper Koen Casteels.
Robert Firmino missed a rare chance for Hoffenheim when he failed to hit the target with a header while Thomas Mueller went off for Bayern with a nasty cut on the face.
Frenchman Ribery made the game safe within two minutes of the re-start when Toni Kroos, having initially miscued the ball, found him unmarked and he fired the ball past Casteels.
"Bayern played very well and we tried to defend as best we could," said Casteels. "It went very well in the first half, but at the end of the day, Bayern only needed a couple of chances. We didn't attack enough."
Peru striker Jefferson Farfan struck the first blow for Schalke when he headed in Christian Fuchs' cross in the first real chance of the game after 33 minutes.
Within one minute of the re-start, Afellay, on loan from Barcelona, was sent clear by Lewis Holtby's pass and drilled the ball past Diego Benaglio.
Roman Neustaedter completed the scoring from close range after Wolfsburg failed to clear a corner in the 58th minute.
"I enjoyed the match and I think the fans did as well," said Schalke 04 coach Huub Stevens. "I'm happy with the result and the way we achieved it."
Hamburg, who lost their first three games, made it 10 points out of their last 12 when South Korea midfielder Heung-Min son broke from the halfway line to score the winning goal at top flight newcomers Greuther Fuerth.
Hamburg climbed to eighth while Fuerth are bottom on four points after their fourth straight home defeat.
(Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne; editing by Toby Davis)