Bayern Munich paid visit to the RheinEnergue Stadion, defeating FC Köln 3-0. The scoreline does not reflect the nature of the game as Peter Stöger’s side were organized, spriteful and took the game to Bayern all day long. For Bayern, it was a showcase in clinical efficiency as the few clear cut chances they earned, they buried.
MIssing Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery has long been a sign of doom for Bayern, but they proved adept at breaking down the FC Köln defense. Some wonderful goalkeeping by Thomas Kessler as well as an indomitable backline led by Neven Subotic were able to control Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Müller, allowing Köln’s midfield and attack the luxury of taking the match to Bayern’s midfield in the opening minute.
Yuya Osako in particular was a thorn in the Bayern side, ghosting off David Alaba and opening space for numerous attacks down the Bayern left in behind Juan Bernat. Osako drew a wonderful save in the 17th minute from Manuel Neuer, as his wide open header was headed to the upper 90 of the his goal. A stretching, clawing Neuer was able to tip it out and preserve Bayern.
Bayern got off the mark in the 25th minute. Thiago set Bayern off with short corner they worked into the middle for Douglas Costa. Attacking the near post, Costa sent in a cross that trickled to the back post where an onrushing Arturo Vidal was able to neatly pass into the feet of Javi Martinez for the clean finish.
Juan Bernat doubled Bayern’s lead shortly after halftime as a a quick Bayern attack down the middle saw Thomas Müller find the dimunitive Spaniard attacking the far post. Bernat’s shot deflected, wrongfooting Thomas Kessler.
Things went grim for Bayern just a few minutes later as Douglas Costa went off injured, pulling up during an attack with a non-contact injury and immediately signaling for a substitute. Franck Ribery was introduced and the game ground to a standstill.
Bayern’s attacking thrusts were met with Köln’s defensive effort and both teams fought towards the final whistle. Several chances for Köln whistled wide or missed via deflection.
Though Bayern put the final nail in the coffin in the 89th minute after Thiago spun out out two challenges before unleashing a long defense breaking ball over the top to Juan Bernat. Bernat sprinted onto it, before laying it off for Franck Ribery to launch home for Bayern’s third and final goal.
It was a comforting display from Bayern. Even as they struggled and battled, they took the chances given to them and converted with ruthless efficiency. With a midweek battle against an Arsenal side playing for pride and down 5-1, this weeks has all the hallmarks the making of a trap game. Mitigating that concern though, it’s good to see a team that is laser focused in front of goal again.