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Four observations from Bayern Munich’s gritty 2-1 win against FC Köln

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Bayern Munich had a nervy start, but grew into the game with time and did just enough to grab the three points against a very well-organized and passionate Köln side.

1. FC Koeln v FC Bayern Muenchen - Bundesliga
Kimmich fights for possession with Salih Oezcan.
Photo by Christian Kaspar-Bartke/Getty Images

Köln played really well

Bayern Munich did win the game convincingly, but the game was not as straightforward as the score line suggests. Bayern’s opponents lined up in a 4-5-1, looking to overload the midfield areas in order to apply pressure and dominate the center of the park. Markus Gisdol’s side were extremely well organized, and had a great start, attacking with intent and testing the Bayern backline with some great passes and well-timed runs. Ismail Jakobs, Ellyes Skhiri and Ondrej Duda combined really well and caused Bayern plenty of problems, and didn’t stop with the press even after going down a goal.

The Billy Goats were one of Bayern’s best opponents this season, and played their hearts out today. They scored a well-earned goal after some great counterattacking football, and can move on to the next game with their heads held high. Looks like a lot of BuLi clubs are getting better and better!

Niklas Süle is a rock

The big German was Bayern’s best defensive player in the game. He was always there to make sure the Köln attack never created any dangerous situations. He made some great tackles, bullied the opposition attack throughout and made sure there were no real problems. Jakobs and Duda would’ve combined for at least one goal if not for the BFG. He is currently playing some of his best football, and one can only imagine how good he would be at full fitness and with better long-range passing. Didn’t put a foot wrong, and can be very happy with his shift.

Bayern Munich’s squad depth is crucial

Bayern beat Köln quite comfortably WITHOUT Robert Lewandowski, Leon Goretzka, Lucas Hernandez, and Alphonso Davies. If that doesn’t speak to the great squad depth in this roster, I don’t know what will. Bayern put in a composed shift tonight, and Javi Martinez, Bouna Sarr, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Jerome Boateng all had decent outings. This is a huge luxury for Hansi Flick to have during busy weeks like this one, with a UCL game on Wednesday, followed by another in the weekend. Squad rotations will ensure the players remain fit and well rested, and Bayern can field different lineups based on the quality of the opposition.

No one reads Müller better than Lewandowski, and vice versa

I know I sound like a broken record, but it is a fact that Thomas Müller is at his best when paired with Lewandowski, and the two have a connection unlike any other on the planet. This was very obvious today, Müller initiating some good moves and moving well on and off the ball, executing a good ball only to be disappointed by a poor layoff or a mistimed run from his teammates. Sure, Choupo-Moting, Leroy Sané and Serge Gnabry are great attacking players, and are very good up front, but they are all still aces below Lewandowski, especially because of the lack of that “telepathy” he was with Müller. This once again goes on to show just how important Lewandowski is for Bayern.

You need not win every game with a huge score line. A win is a win and that’s what matters at the end of the day. A decent game, and three points in the bag once again. We march ahead!