ROME - Five-time European champions Bayern Munich took a huge step towards qualification for the last 16 of the Champions League with a remarkable 7-1 rout of Roma at a stunned Stadio Olimpico on Tuesday.
Pep Guardiola's Bundesliga leaders travelled to the Eternal City looking to draw first blood in the first of two consecutive encounters between the Group E rivals - they meet in Munich in a fortnight.
Instead the German champions, who won their last Champions League title in 2013, cemented their credentials as potential winners of this campaign.
Rudi Garcia's men were a pale shadow of the side that had beaten CSKA Moscow 5-1 at home and battled to a 1-1 draw with Manchester City.
But even Bayern seemed astonished at how easily the Serie A high-flyers crumbled during a spectacular first half that saw the visitors take a 5-0 lead.
"This is one-off result, it doesn't reflect the true difference between the sides," Guardiola told reporters. "We still have to play Roma in two weeks and I bet you it won't be the same." Dutch playmaker Arjen Robben opened the scoring with a sublime chip towards the far post of Morgan De Sanctis's net.
Further strikes from Mario Goetze, Robert Lewandowski, a second from Robben and a Thomas Mueller penalty left Garcia's men with a mountain to climb.
The first 45 minutes must have struck a chord with Garcia, whose Lille side suffered a 5-0 first-half rout by Bayern during a 6-1 group stage defeat in 2012 in Munich when the German side went on to lift the trophy.
By the final whistle, Roma were sorely reminded of their 7-1 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford in 2007.
Roma remain second in the Group on four points, two points clear of Manchester City who were held to a 2-2 draw by CSKA Moscow, and a repentant Garcia said they still have a chance of qualifying.
"The first person at fault is me," said the Frenchman.
"We let them play their game and after conceding the early goal we made the mistake of trying to level quickly instead of waiting patiently."
"It hurts us a lot. We were missing a lot of things and you can't afford to be underpar against a team like this."
"It wasn't our night. But we have to be mentally strong and show that it's not going to affect us. I said the worse thing that can happen to us is to be humiliated by Bayern, and we were."
He added: "The only positive we can take from tonight is the draw between CSKA and Manchester City. We're still second in the group and still in with a chance of qualifying."