I took three things away from that mid-week Champions League clash:
1) Schalke's defense is less-than-nothing without Benedikt Howedes.
2) Manu Neuer's first half performance was maybe the best 45 minutes I've ever seen from a goalkeeper.
3) More than ever, I hate plastic Mancs.
So, Schalke was going to react in one of two ways on Saturday: They were either going to put their big-boy pants on and acutally attack, or the barrage would come from Bayern and 10 men would hang their hopes on Neuer's broad shoulders. Thankfully for die Roten, the second was the case.
With an ueber-determined Arjen Robben back in the starting XI, after serving a silly two-game suspension, our offense bore out why it's tops in the Bundesliga. And Neuer's mid-week heroics were not to be repeated as the "Tulpen aus Amsterdam" opened up the scoring on 6 minutes after an Annan error allowed Mueller to find Robben in the box.
Schalke's lone bright spot (if you can call it that) in the match came 2 minutes later as Jefferson Farfan curled a free-kick in front of Bayern's goal, embarrassingly nodded in by Holger Badstuber. Hey, no worries, Schalke! We'll score your goals too!
A soft card given to Zorro, I mean... Christoph Metzelder for a shirt-tug on Robben just outside the box four minutes later, saw the Dutchman free-kick in to the wall. However, the ball was scooped by Mueller who deftly finished past Neuer. Young Thomas was in play again on 20 minutes as he headed over Manuel to give a tap in to Mario Gomez. Finally, Mueller finished off a superlative day on 84 minutes, scoring again after a brilliant break from Franck Ribery.
Not much to comment on the defense, as they really had not a lot to do. The only blemish is the afore-mentioned own goal by Badstuber. Philipp Lahm and Diego Contento nicely complemented Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery with their runs up the flanks. And except for the odd goal kick, Hans-Jorg Butt could've been sitting on the pitch, cross-legged, picking grass: There were no shots, he had nothing to save.
Tymo and Basti won the majority of tackles and distributed the ball around nicely, feeding to the stellar trio of Robben, Mueller and Ribery. Ribery is out on the pitch looking like he's having fun again, and the excitement is palpable when he's got a ball at his foot. Arjen Robben, when he's not complaining, is brilliance personified. And out of the shadows of those two midfield gods, Thomas Mueller is rising in esteem and notice, capturing his World Cup form.
Mario Gomez was, once again, in the right place at the right time. And with a two goal lead over Papisse Cisse, he'll be crowned Bundesliga goal-scoring champion this season.
With 2 matches left, away against St. Pauli and home to Stuttgart, and a two-point lead for third against Hannover 96, we're looking good for Champions League qualification next season. Which means we're looking good- despite a few hold-outs- for Neuer joining Bayern this summer. So, can I be a little greedy and hope that Leverkusen pulls a, well... Leverkusen, and only manages 1 point out of the next two weeks? Then we'd capture second and qualify directly. Because, you know, Bayern Munich > Bayer Leverkusen.
Wir singen, wir tanzen auf jedem Fussballplatz! Ein Schuss! Ein Tor! Die Bayern!
Follow ESPNsoccernet's Football Correspondents on Twitter