Bayern brush aside Basel in Munich

MUNICH - Bayern Munich showed they are a force to be reckoned with in the Champions League, despite their erratic Bundesliga season, by beating Basel 3-0 on Wednesday for their fifth win in six matches.

The Bavarians, who lost in the Champions League final to Inter Milan last season, have shown two faces so far: a bad one in the Bundesliga and a scintillating one in Europe.

Bayern have dominated their Champions League group like never before, making their best ever start with four wins out of four to seal top spot in Group E with two games to spare.

With Wednesday's victory, Bayern finished their group obligations with 15 points, a record for a German team, having scored 16 goals, another German record.

"Five wins in the group stage is not something that many teams have achieved," said Bayern coach Louis van Gaal. "This win gives us a lot of confidence for the tasks lying ahead."

Bayern essentially needed two minutes to put the game beyond the battling Swiss with Franck Ribery scoring in the 35th minute and Ukrainian Anatoliy Tymoshchuk adding another two minutes later.

Ribery sealed their win five minutes after the restart in another dominating performance by the four-time winners of Europe's top competition, who squandered many chances to increase the scoreline.

With several players, including winger Arjen Robben and striker Miroslav Klose, expected to return from injury after the winter break, Bayern will be even stronger in the round of 16.

Yet in the Bundesliga it has been a different story with van Gaal's team all but writing off their title defence even before the halfway mark, lying in seventh place some 17 points off leaders Borussia Dortmund.

"We needed such a win to get more confidence. The first 25 minutes were not good but after that it went very well," said captain Mark van Bommel.

The Dutch midfielder said the side's Champions League form could still lift them higher in the league.

"For this season I have not given up hope (of defending the title) yet. We are so many points behind that our realistic aim should be to finish second but we always have to go for the title," he said.