Published 26/02/2021 at 16:05 GMT | Updated 27/02/2021 at 16:42 GMT
A routine victory took Bayern Munich five points clear at the top of the Bundesliga as they dispatched FC Cologne 5-1 at the Allianz Arena.
Goals from Eric Choupo-Moting and two from Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry either side of an Ellyas Sbhiri dink were enough to seal the points on what turned out to be a straightforward encounter for the reigning champions.
There was an early spell in the second half when Sbhiri took advantage of some kamikaze defending to fire the Billygoats back into contention, but the visitors failed to capitalise on their momentum, finally falling to Lewandowski at the double.
Bayern were in control throughout, but were still shaky at the back. Numerous mistakes crept in when trying to play out from the back and Manuel Neuer misjudged a pass back. Substitute Dominick Drexler hit the post from a tight angle.
Super sub Serge Gnabry would return from a hamstring injury to slot home a Lucas Hernandez cut back to make it four.
Leon Goretzka forced a world-class save from Timo Horn with a thunderous half volley, but the points were already secured as Gnabry added another late on with a close-range header to cap off an important win.
Bayern Munich's Polish forward Robert Lewandowski (L) and Bayern Munich's German midfielder Leon Goretzka
Image credit: Getty Images
TALKING POINT - BAYERN RUTHLESS IN ATTACK, WOBBLY IN DEFENCE
They might well have slammed five past a struggling Cologne side with little to offer themselves, the hosts were fortunate not to concede more than one.
There were countless times that they wouldn't clear their lines when they had the opportunity, and they would easily have been punished against better opposition.
David Alaba and Jerome Boateng are usually a solid pair, but at times they looked erratic: Alaba hauling down Ondrej Duda to earn himself a yellow after off the ball pressure from the Slovakian, whilst Boateng looked stretched for pace when up against Emmanuel Dennis.
Alphonso Davies continued to show how he could well be considered a Rolls Royce left-back. His recovery pace and tenaciousness in a challenge really sets him apart from his defensive peers, but also highlighted the need for greater strengthening in the Bayern backline.
MAN OF THE MATCH - ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI, BAYERN MUNICH
Who else? He netted two of the five goals scored by the champions, he was a handful for all three of Cologne's centre halves, and he took his goalscoring tally to 28 for the league season as a result.
It's harsh to overlook the energetic Goretzka, whose two delightful floated crosses set up both Choupo-Moting and Gnabry in either half, but the Polish international again proved why he's so often touted as the best striker in world football at present.
18': GOAL! And the second phase brings the first goal! Neatly worked on the edge of the area between Kimmich, Sane and Goretzka, and the midfielder clips it to the back post for the 6'3" winger Eric Choupo-Moting to stoop and nod home.
33': And there's 2-0. A wonderfully crafted move and one-two between Goretzka and Lewandowski, and the Pole opens his account for this fixture, and doubles Bayern's tally, and surely they're going five points clear at the top.
48': There it is! Koln are back in the game! It's 2-1! Kamikaze defending, so many chances to clear their lines, and Ellyes Skhiri steals in and dinks it over Neuer to halve the deficit. Game on!
65': Ah. Instant impact, from both. How about that?! Gnabry's clever dummy, allows the ball to roll through for Muller, who slides in Robert Lewandowski who doubles his tally, and redoubles the hosts' lead.
76': Goretzka on the half volley! What a save from Horn! Corner.
82': And it's four, Gnabry on hand to tap home after a Hernandez cross.
85': There's number five! Gnabry's got another, a delicious Goretzka cross finding the winger to double his tally and make it a quintet of scores.