Robert Lewandowski scored a hat-trick on Saturday as Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich romped to a 4-0 home win over Stuttgart despite losing Alphonso Davies to a red card in the 12th minute.
Stuttgart chief executive Thomas Hitzlsperger described Lewandowski’s performance as “something above world class”.
The result keeps Bayern four points clear at the top after second-placed RB Leipzig won 1-0 at Arminia Bielefeld on Friday.
Lewandowski has scored 35 league goals this season to leave him just five short of Gerd Mueller’s all-time Bundesliga record of 40, set in 1971/72.
“I just keep thinking from game to game and not how many more goals I have to score,” said Lewandowski, who netted with his left foot, right foot and head for a ‘perfect’ hat-trick.
Davies received an early red card at the Allianz Arena for a tackle on the ankle of Stuttgart’s Japan midfielder Wataru Endo.
“After that we woke up,” said Lewandowski. Bayern responded with a burst of three goals in five minutes.
Lewandowski beat two defenders to tap home a Serge Gnabry cross on 18 minutes.
A superb exchange of passes between Leroy Sane and Thomas Mueller set up Gnabry to score Bayern’s second on 22 minutes.
Just 77 seconds later, Lewandowski headed home Mueller’s cross and the Poland star wrapped up his treble six minutes before half-time with a low shot.
“We paid dearly. They scored with every chance,” said Stuttgart sporting director Sven Mislintat.
Davies and Jerome Boateng will both be suspended for Bayern’s April 3 showdown at Leipzig. Boateng picked up a first-half yellow card, his fifth this season.
Elsewhere, Erling Braut Haaland rescued Borussia Dortmund with two goals, including a late equaliser, in a 2-2 draw at strugglers Cologne.
The 20-year-old Norway star stormed off the pitch at the final whistle as Dortmund’s defensive weaknesses were again exposed.
Dortmund, who face Manchester City in the Champions League quarter-finals next month, were heading to defeat before Haaland struck on 90 minutes after also giving the visitors an early lead.
Dortmund’s England midfielder Jude Bellingham gave away a first-half penalty when a VAR review showed he had blocked a shot with his arm and Ondrej Duda netted the spot-kick.
A mistake by Dortmund defender Thomas Meunier allowed Germany Under-21 winger Ismail Jakobs to fire Cologne into a 2-1 lead with an hour gone.
Haaland hit the post with a towering header before stabbing in Dortmund’s equaliser.
Fifth-placed Dortmund are four points from the Champions League spots.
Eintracht Frankfurt, the club immediately above them, cruised to a 5-2 home win over Union Berlin as Portugal striker Andre Silva netted twice.
Wolfsburg consolidated third place with a 2-1 win at Werder Bremen as Dutch striker Wout Weghorst hit what proved to be the winning goal just before the break.
Later, Borussia Moenchengladbach ended their slide down the league table with a 3-0 win at bottom side Schalke with goals by Lars Stindl and Stefan Lainer.
Schalke goalkeeper Frederik Ronnow summed up the home side’s luck when he parried a header by Nico Elvedi, but the ball carried over the goalline.
The away win ended Gladbach’s awful run of seven defeats since it was announced head coach Marco Rose was leaving to take charge of Dortmund next season.
Gladbach are ninth while Schalke are 12 points from escaping the bottom three.