Bayern Munich signed off for the World Cup break by moving six points clear at the Bundesliga summit, as the outstanding Jamal Musiala laid on both goals in a routine 2-0 win at Schalke.
Rock-bottom Schalke gave a decent account of themselves in repelling several waves of early pressure, but Musiala's neat flick allowed Serge Gnabry to fire Bayern ahead on Saturday.
The Germany international then teed up in-form striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting to slot home against his former club, ensuring Julian Nagelsmann's men clinched a sixth consecutive league win.
The result lifts Bayern six points clear of second-placed RB Leipzig ahead of the two-month hiatus, though either Union Berlin or Freiburg could cut that gap by two points when they face off on Sunday.
Bayern began the game by dominating possession, but Manuel Neuer was the first goalkeeper to be drawn into action when he denied Marius Bulter at his near post.
Choupo-Moting headed Joshua Kimmich's corner against Alexander Schwolow's right-hand post as Bayern continued to press, and the breakthrough finally arrived after 38 minutes.
Gnabry fed Musiala before continuing his run to meet the teenager's backheel, and his low effort caught Schwolow off guard to give Bayern the lead.
Musiala again played a key role when Bayern doubled their advantage within seven minutes of the restart, driving through midfield before slipping a pass to Choupo-Moting, who finished coolly.
The 19-year-old was then denied a richly deserved goal by the offside flag when he weaved between two challenges before prodding into the bottom-left corner, but Bayern ultimately did not require a third.
What does it mean? Bayern on a roll
Bayern are probably cursing the timing of the mid-season break more than most, having put themselves firmly on track for an 11th consecutive Bundesliga title by embarking on a terrific run of form.
In all competitions, Bayern have now won 10 successive matches for just the second time under Nagelsmann, having also done so between August and September 2021.
Musiala warms up for Qatar trip
The skill and creativity of Musiala may prove crucial if Hansi Flick's Germany are to clinch a fifth World Cup triumph in Qatar this year, and the 19-year-old warmed up for that tournament in impressive fashion by running the show in Gelsenkirchen.
On the day he became the youngest player to make 100 Bayern appearances since the Bundesliga was founded (aged 19 years and 259 days), Musiala produced two fine assists to help Bayern to victory. Across Europe's top five leagues, no German player can match Musiala's tally of 21 goal contributions this season (12 goals, nine assists).
Gnabry on the mark again
Prolific winger Gnabry is second on that list, having provided his 19th goal contribution of the season (10 goals, nine assists), by handing Bayern a first-half lead on Saturday.
In breaking Schalke's resilience, Gnabry became the fifth different Bayern player to hit double figures for goals this season in all competitions (after Musiala – 12, Sadio Mane and Choupo-Moting – both 11, and Leroy Sane – 10).
The Bundesliga will take its annual mid-season break after the World Cup, meaning Bayern are not in action until they visit RB Leipzig on January 20, while Schalke go to Eintracht Frankfurt one day later.