Robert Lewandowski’s 300th Bundesliga goal and a torpedo from Corentin Tolisso saw Bayern Munich past Cologne to restore their six-point gap at the top of the Bundesliga.
Host’s Cologne started the stronger, harrying Bayern with their hard running style. But the visitors were more than equal to it, expanding the gaps as their passing clicked and Cologne’s early enthusiasm waned.
Bayern Munich took the lead early after playing their way through the press. Thomas Muller, always at the centre of Bayern’s play, found Lewandowski on the penalty spot with clear grass around him.
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Corentin Tolisso then rifled home a second that left Cologne heads spinning. After a thrilling sweeping move, Tolisso popped the ball up to Muller who returned it in some style with a backheel volley. A velvet touch and a violent volley into the top corner did the rest.
Leroy Lane entered the fray early in the second half and seemed hell-bent on bringing up his teammate’s triple-century of goals. His clever running sucked Cologne’s backline towards him and unleashed the ruthless Lewandowski behind them.
Bayern’s second and third followed this exact pattern. Without flinching, Lewandowski dispatched goals 299 and 300 with assured finishes after Sane’s teasing through balls.
The Poland striker’s hattrick was as inevitable as it was cold-blooded. There is simply not a more dangerous goalscorer in Europe.
The win restores Bayern’s six-point lead at the top of the pile after Borussia Dortmund had halved the deficit on Friday night. Cologne won’t have marked this game out as a chance for points, but disappointed to have played host to one of the league's great scoring records.
TALKING POINT - RUTHLESS ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI REACHES 300 GOALS
The Poland striker scored a hattrick without ever looking all that impressive, such is the assassin-calm he exudes every time he enters the penalty area.
He has been prolific this season with 23 goals already to his name. While his team whirred up to speed behind him, he was always standing in space, ready to apply the finishing touch.
With Bayern geared specifically to feed the striker, the hattrick looked inevitable. But such is the monotony of his scoring record, Lewandowski was pushing for a fourth without so much as a grin.
One wonders if a flashier player with the same numbers would have claimed the Balon d’Or he so clearly deserved.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH - THOMAS MULLER
Lewandowski’s towering record and Tolisso’s strike will take the headlines but it was the ever-present Thomas Muller who made the difference. His quick thinking was central to everything Bayern created, as has so often been the case in his glittering career.
He dropped into the number-10 role to spring Lewandowski through for the opener but his second assist was just magical. He whirled his leg up and behind him to backheel a cushioned ball to Tolisso, whose finish was unstoppable.
After that, every Cologne defender was drawn to the Germany playmaker. As defenders tired, Muller had the time and composure to flick, prod and ping balls through for Sane to cause havoc.
Ominous stuff from a man who never stopped smiling while claiming 16 assists for the season. Many of which have carried his teammate to his triple-century.
Schwabe 6, Schmitz 5, Kilian 6, Hubers 6, Hector 6, Ozcan 5, Schaub 6, Duda 6, Kainz 6, Uth 5, Modeste 6. Subs: Ljubicic 5, Andersson 5, Schindler 5, Ehizibue 6, Thielmann 6.
Neuer 6, Kimmich 6, Pavard 6, Sule 6, Tolisso 8, Sabitzer 7, Roca 6, Gnabry 7, Muller 8, Musiala 6, Lewandowski 8. Subs: Richards, Sane, Wanner, Nianzou, Tillman.
74’ COLOGNE 0 - BAYERN MUNICH 4: GOAL 300 FOR LEWANDOWSKI Leroy Sane runs past the entire Cologne midfield and pushes a beautiful ball into the path of Lewandowski. Without so much as a blink, the ball is in the back of the net.
That's 300 Bundesliga goals for Europe's most terrifying striker.
61’ COLOGNE 0 - BAYERN MUNICH 3: LEWANDOWSKI AGAIN Sane makes an immediate impact. Finding far too much space in the middle he is able to pick the perfect pass for Lewandowski who doesn't need asking twice. The finish was ruthless.
32’ COLOGNE 0 - BAYERN 2: UTH OFFSIDE It's cruel, but after a long check, Uth is judged to be offiside. Cologne sense there's a chance to get back into this however.
25’ COLOGNE 0 - BAYERN MUNICH 2: TOLISSO TORPEDO After a thrilling sweeping move, Tolisso pops the ball up to Thomas Muller. Muller returns it in some style with a backheel volley. Tolisso then rifles the ball into the top corner. What a goal that was.
10’ COLOGNE 0 - BAYERN MUNICH 1: THE GOAL STANDS VAR did their thing, but the Bayern striker was well on side. Another assist from Muller and it's 66 consecutive matches where Bayern have scored.
9’ THE FLAG IS UP TO DENY LEWANDOWSKI The ref plays advantage as Duda crunches in. Lewandowski plucks his way through two challenges before slamming the ball home. VAR just checking...
Bayern Munich have now scored in each of their past 66 Bundesliga games, beating a record they themselves set back in 2014.
The club have scored over three goals per game on average this season, the most in Europe.
Rober Lewandowski now has 300 Bundesliga goals. Ridiculous numbers.
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