Javi Martinez scored his first goal for Bayern Munich for two years on Saturday as their 3-1 win at Schalke 04 opened an eight-point lead in the German league.
After second-placed Borussia Dortmund’s shock 3-1 defeat at Hamburg on Friday, Pep Guardiola’s Bayern took their chance to extend their lead.
David Alaba’s early goal was cancelled out by Schalke’s Max Meyer before Martinez followed by Thomas Mueller struck for Bayern.
“You have to work for every victory in the Bundesliga and we always have to give 100 per cent,” said Mueller.
“Opponents don’t make it easy and recently the five-man defence has become fashionable.
“I don’t know if supporters like it so much, but the opponents try and stop everything.”
Bayern took a fortuitous lead in Gelsenkirchen when Alaba’s long-range shot clipped Leon Goretzka’s heel and flew into the Schalke net with nine minutes gone.
Schalke drew level through Meyer’s superb goal on 17 minutes when he turned Bayern captain Philipp Lahm and powered his shot past goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
But Bayern maintained their unbeaten record in Germany’s top flight when Spain’s Martinez headed Arjen Robben’s pin-point cross on 69 minutes.
It was the centre-back’s first league goal for Bayern since August 2013, then Mueller added a late third by curling his shot inside the far post.