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 Bayern Munich restored its four-point advantage atop the Bundesliga standings after beating Stuttgart 4-0 thanks to Robert Lewandowski’s first-half hat-trick on Saturday.

However, the game started differently than expected as Bayern’s Alphonso Davis saw a straight red card for a foul on Wataru Endo with only 12 minutes played.

Two minutes later, Sasa Kalaidzic had a golden chance to open the scoring but the striker failed to beat Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

Bayern then suddenly sparked to life and broke the deadlock out of the blue as Serge Gnabry found Lewandowski, who made no mistake from very close range in the 18th minute.

Gnabry remained in the thick of things as he made it 2-0 only four minutes later after a combination with Thomas Muller and Leroy Sane allowed the German international to slot home from 12 meters.

To make things worse for Stuttgart, outnumbered Bayern made it 3-0 within five minutes after Lewandowski headed home Muller’s pinpoint cross into the box with 23 minutes gone.

Stuttgart wasn’t able to put up any resistance, while Lewandowski wasn’t done with the scoring as the Bundesliga’s top striker made it 4-0 to mark his 35th goal of the season.

The deal was sealed within the first 45 minutes as Stuttgart posed no threat to Bayern’s well-positioned defense.

Kalaidzic’s header on target in the 53rd minute was no challenge for Neuer, while at the other end, an unmarked Lewandowski untypically pulled wide from a promising position at the hour mark.

The Bavarians increased the pressure in the closing stages but Sane and Leon Goretzka lacked in accuracy.

With the result, Bundesliga leaders Bayern defend its four-point advantage atop the standings while Stuttgart remain in eighth place.

“A huge compliment to my team. They played very well despite the deserved red card for Davies in the early stages of the first half. It was really outstanding how my team worked out the goals,” said Bayern head coach Hansi Flick.

Elsewhere, Wolfsburg cemented its third place in the table after securing its 14th win of the season with a 2-1 victory over Werder Bremen.

Fourth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt returned to winning ways as the Eagles moved 5-2 past Union Berlin, and Borussia Dortmund was held to a 2-2 draw with relegation-threatened Cologne.

Xinhua