BERLIN • Thomas Mueller has warned that Bayern Munich's 5-1 demolition of second-placed Borussia Dortmund is a clear signal to their German opponents that they will not release their iron grip on the Bundesliga.
Bayern's win opened a seven-point lead - an ominous sign given that they won the title by 10, 19 and 25 points respectively in each of the last three seasons.
Pep Guardiola's side are on course to win an unprecedented fourth consecutive Bundesliga title and Dortmund were powerless to prevent their 15-game unbeaten run being ended in emphatic fashion at the Allianz Arena on Sunday.
With just under a quarter of the league season gone, Bayern are in a commanding position in Germany's top flight.
They have thrashed both last season's runners-up Wolfsburg and current deputies Dortmund by the same heavy scoreline.
Third-placed Schalke had earlier slipped to a 0-3 home loss to Cologne, suggesting they cannot mount a realistic challenge over the season.
Robert Lewandowski scored a brace, taking his tally to 12 in his last four games, after Mueller's double included a first-half penalty before Mario Goetze grabbed Bayern's fifth.
"It was a big win - seven points clear and the manner of the victory: That was a signal," said Mueller.
"But we have to keep going and keep collecting points after the international break."
The manner of the win was underlined by the passing quality of Germany centre-back Jerome Boateng, who supplied pin-point accurate long balls for the first goals for Mueller and Lewandowski.
Guardiola was delighted as his side picked up their eighth straight league win of the season. Their record - 28 goals scored, four against - means they have had the best start to a Bundesliga season.
"I have to congratulate the players, not just for today, but for the last few months," he said.
Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel insisted his side had played into Bayern's hands by failing to defend against Boateng's long balls.
"We made life far too easy for Bayern. The opening goal was the worst to concede," he said.
"A long ball from 40 metres - that shouldn't happen, and it was the same for the third, because you have to close the gap quicker."