By Greg Lea.

After five weeks off, normal service was resumed. If the 17 other Bundesliga clubs were hoping that Bayern Munich would return from German football's winter break rusty rather than refreshed, they were left disappointed by events at Volksparkstadion on Friday night.

Bayern, in truth, were not particularly impressive against Hamburg, Robert Lewandowski's brace securing a narrow 2-1 win after a rather average at least by the Bavarians' lofty standards all-round performance. Nevertheless, Pep Guardiola's side remain eight points clear of second-placed Borussia Dortmund at the top of the table with 16 matches remaining, a margin that looks almost impossible for BVB to overhaul given Bayern's supremacy so far this term. It is a matter of when, not if, a fourth consecutive league title is wrapped up by Germany's biggest and richest club.

After characteristically controlling possession in the opening stages, a 37th-minute penalty from Lewandowki opened the scoring for Bayern following goalkeeper Rene Adler's foul on Thomas Muller inside the box. Hamburg got back on level terms in the second period, Xabi Alonso inadvertently turning Aaron Hunt's free-kick into his own goal, before Lewandowski secured all three points for the visitors by reacting quickest to guide Muller's shot into the back of the net. The Pole has played better on multiple occasions this season, but the fact that he still bagged a brace without performing at his highest level is ominous for Bayern's domestic and European opponents going forward.

Official Bayern Munich Football Kit

Hamburg were full of effort and spirit all evening and arguably deserved more from the game, but Bayern showed why they are by some distance the strongest team in the Bundesliga. The only negative on the night was the injury suffered by central defender Jerome Boateng, who has arguably been his side's best player this term; the Germany international is expected to be sidelined for a number of weeks with a groin problem, with the club later admitting that the 27-year-old faces a "long pause".

While it is always a major blow for a team to lose one of its best players to injury, Bayern have the strength in depth to cope and still comfortably add another league championship to the trophy cabinet. It is not at home but on the continent that Guardiola will likely be focusing much of its attention in the coming weeks and months, however.

After two full seasons at the helm, the former Barcelona manager and three-time European champion (once as a player, twice as a manager) has yet to win the biggest prize of all at Bayern: the Champions League. Successive semi-final defeats to eventual champions Real Madrid in 2014 and Barca in 2015 saw Bayern unable to replicate their success of 2013, when Jupp Heynckes guided the German outfit to the trophy before retiring and making way for Guardiola.

The latter coach, who has already announced he will be joining a Premier League club at the end of the campaign, will be desperate to win the club's sixth European Cup. Bayern's eight-point cushion at the top of the Bundesliga standings means there is margin for error domestically, with focus likely to shift to the Champions League when the knockout stage begins next month. Bayern take on last season's runners-up Juventus in the round of 16; while it will be far from easy to oust Max Allegri's rampant side, Bayern will be heavy favourites to triumph and progress to the quarter-finals.

Guardiola's impact on both Bayern and German football as a whole means most people will consider his three-year spell in charge a success even if the Champions League prize remains elusive this term. Should he win it, though, he will depart Bavaria as a hero.