New of all that's transpired on and off the football field on Saturday.
Bayern Munich fired an ominous warning to the rest of the Bundesliga when they demolished fifth-placed Schalke 04 5-0 on Saturday to close the gap on leaders RB Leipzig to one point.
Forward Robert Lewandowski set the Bavarians on their way by scoring his 21st league goal of the season in the sixth minute and, after they had two goals disallowed for off-side, Thomas Mueller added the second just before half-time.
Leon Goretzka scored a brilliantly improvised third in the 50th minute before Thiago and Serge Gnabry added two more as Bayern completed their fifth successive league win.
After dropping to sixth in early December, Bayern — chasing an eighth successive title — have 39 points from 19 games, one behind RB Leipzig who lost 2-0 at Eintracht Frankfurt earlier on Saturday.
Borussia Moenchengladbach are third on 38 with Borussia Dortmund on 36. Schalke, on 33, lost ground with the top four.
“We wanted to impose our game, our philosophy, and we succeeded,” said Bayern coach Hansi Flick.
“I wasn’t interested in the Leipzig game. The decisive thing today was that we got the three points. We have a stability in the team and that’s very important.”
Schalke were quickly in trouble as goalkeeper Markus Schubert flapped at a Mueller cross and Ivan Perisic touched the ball to Lewandowski who thumped it into the net.
Rabbi Matondo rattled the Bayern bar shortly afterwards which was the last time that Schalke threatened to make a serious contest out of it.
Mueller thought he had scored in the 12th minute but it was ruled offside, a decision confirmed by VAR.
Lewandowski also had the ball in the net but it was disallowed following a VAR review for offside in the buildup — forcing the stadium announcer to stop his goal celebration routine halfway through.
Schubert made good saves from Goretzka and Lewandowski but could do nothing in the 45th minute when Goretzka headed the ball into the path of Mueller to add the second.
It quickly got worse for the Royal Blues. Five minutes into the second half, Goretzka’s header hit a defender, rebounded straight back and he reacted brilliantly to hook the ball in on the volley.
There was no letup as Bayern won possession in midfield, Lewandowski broke down the left and centred the ball for Thiago to turn into an empty net.
Schubert completed a miserable evening as Gnabry’s shot slipped through his legs in the 89th minute and the referee appeared to take pity on Schalke as he blew for time on the 90 minutes.
Ilicic scores from halfway line in Atalanta rout
Atalanta forward Josip Ilicic scored a free-kick from near the halfway line, one of the most remarkable Serie A goals of the season, to cap a hat-trick as they won 7-0 away to a sorry Torino side who finished with nine men on Saturday.
Free-scoring Atlanta were already 3-0 ahead when they won a freekick around two metres inside the Torino half in the 53rd minute. Two Torino players backed away and Ilicic, seeing Salvatore Sirigu off his line, floated the ball over the startled goalkeeper and into the net.
“I saw they were out of position, my first idea was to go for goal and it went in. I was lucky, but you need that in football,” he said.
The Slovenian opened the scoring in the 17th minute from close range after Jose Palomino won possession and rolled the ball across the face of the goal.
Robin Gosens volleyed the second 12 minutes later and Duvan Zapata converted a penalty, awarded for a tug on Ilicic, just before halftime as Atalanta quickly put Monday’s shock home defeat by SPAL behind them.
Ilicic was mobbed by his team mates after scoring his stunning freekick effort and, one minute later, completed his hat-trick after getting behind the Torino defence to take his league tally for the season to 13.
Luis Muriel added two more late in the game, the first a penalty, while Torino’s frustration boiled over as Armando Izzo was sent off for a second bookable offence in the 76th minute and Sasa Lukic was given a straight red card in the 89th.
“If we were like this in every game, we’d be up near the top of the table,” said Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini.
His opposite number Walter Mazzarri apologised for a performance which led many home fans to walk out.
“Nothing worked... it was an indefensible performance, there is nothing more to say,” said Mazzarri, who refused to take questions and said his team would go into a training camp.
Criscito, who had previously converted all 13 penalties, saw his effort saved by Fiorentina goalkeeper Bartlomiej Dragowski who pulled off several other good saves as they remained unbeaten under new coach Giuseppe Iachini.
SPAL, Genoa and Brescia are all level on 15 points in the bottom three positions following SPAL’s 3-1 home defeat by Bologna.