City’s midfield maestro had completed his hat-trick with just 24 minutes on the clock, added another on the hour and Raheem Sterling scored a late fifth to cap a memorable night in the Black Country.
The game began at breakneck speed, with City looking threatening every time the ball was in the Wolves half, but the hosts looking dangerous on the counterattack.
Five minutes later, City were ahead and it was a beautiful move started by De Bruyne who picked up a loose clearance, found Bernardo and then ran into space for the Portuguese to play a weighted return pass that the Belgian raced on to before drilling an angled shot past the keeper.
But Wolves roared back and having already been denied by a superb Aymeric Laporte tackle in an attack just minutes earlier, equalised within four minutes as Jimenez set Neto clear and his low ball was turned in by Dendoncker.
The home fans celebrated wildly, but De Bruyne was having none of it and six minutes after that he restored City’s lead.
He tried to find Sterling in the box, but the pass was slightly overhit – no matter because as Jose Sa spilled the ball, it was De Bruyne who was first to react, lashing a fierce shot into the top left corner to make it 2-1.
Eight minutes after that, he did it again, collecting the ball on the right, drifting into the middle before drilling a low left-foot shot into the bottom left corner from 20 yards.
It was breath-taking stuff from a player who has been shifting through the gears like a Rolls Royce as the months have passed by.
That was that for the first half, but the Blues looked to have wrapped up victory a couple of minutes after the restart, only for Sterling’s goal to be flagged offside.
Wolves continued to look dangerous whenever they came forward and there was a real scare on 55 when Laporte lay on the turf after Jimenez fell into his knee.
Pep Guardiola looked on anxiously – what he needed was his team to find a fourth goal to all-but secure victory – and of course De Bruyne provided exactly that, drilling home from close range when the ball fell kindly for him from Foden's attempt to find Sterling.
It was his day, make no mistake.
Laporte was taken off shortly after – let’s hope it was as a precaution more than anything else.
And only a coat of paint denied De Bruyne a fifth as he rattled the post in the dying moments.
A superb victory for the Blues.
What it means...
City again go three points clear of Liverpool at the top with a goal difference that is now seven better than the Merseysiders.
The Blues require four more points to secure the title.
This thrilling Premier League title race continues with our penultimate game of the campaign this weekend.
Next stop, the London Stadium where West Ham United await on Sunday - kick-off is 14:00 (UK)
24 - Kevin De Bruyne's hat-trick within 24 minutes is the third earliest scored from the start of a match in Premier League history, after Sadio Mane v Aston Villa in May 2015 (16 mins) and Dwight Yorke v Arsenal in February 2001 (22). Incredible. pic.twitter.com/znqAveJjpy— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) May 11, 2022
“The way Kevin is playing in the last 2 or 3 months has been outstanding.
“He has been our key man in the last part of the season. It’s not just what he created and the goals, it’s everything.
“He helps us a lot. Kevin always has the sense of the assist; he is so generous.
“He always thinks of the team. This year is his most prolific in this sense.
“We were exceptional. We made a really good performance.
“We played really well in this stadium; we know how difficult it is.
“Yeah, (it is) three more points. Rest now and then West Ham.”
KDB reaches new heights
Imagine - your 305th game for City and you play better than ever before?
That's what happened at Molineux, where Kevin De Bruyne upped his game to a devastating new high.
This wonderful footballer has now scored 85 goals for City and created 116 for his team-mates to make it 201 involvements.
A superb hat-trick, all with his supposed weaker foot, and a fourth after the break in a performance that would have dissected any defence in the world.
It was magical, mesmeric and utterly brilliant.
Star Man: Kevin De Bruyne
How could it be anybody else?
Kevin De Bruyne's 17-minute hat-trick was the third fastest in Premier League history from the start of a game.
City's third goal against Wolves made Pep Guardiola's side the top scorers of all Europe's top five major leagues so far this season.
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