Cologne, Germany – Three goals in 12 minutes will make any game away from home easier.
But Bayern’s early domination of Cologne was somewhat impressive, even for them. Over the last seven matchdays, the Bavarians are the only team to collect more points (19) than Cologne (15).
So when Bayern took a 3-0 lead in the first quarter of an hour, the RheinEnergieStadion was understandably aghast. Sure, Bayern were favorites to win, but to put the game away so swiftly was certainly unexpected.
Here are some observations from Bayern’s convincing 4-1 win over Cologne.
Thomas Müller is playing some of his best football
The German forward is currently playing out of his mind. His two assists give him 14 now in the Bundesliga, the most by any player at this point in the season. Müller has three goals and three assists in the Bundesliga in 2020.
He was very involved in the buildup play on Sunday, playing a classic No. 10 role behind Lewandowski. WhoScored.com counted six key passes to go along with his two assists in the game.
Müller continues to show how important he is to this team, and he doesn’t seem to care that he is not in the Germany team anymore. If he maintains this form, Bayern should definitely be lifting at least one trophy this season.
A solid start for Kingsley Coman
Making his first start after his long injury layoff, the French forward put in a good day’s work. Even before his strike in the fifth minute, Coman was confidently bursting around Cologne’s defense and putting in decent service to boot.
There was a scare when he was tripped up by Timo Horn in the first half, but he wound up putting in a 79-minute shift. Perhaps Bayern’s game on Friday against Paderborn will be an opportunity to see whether he can go the full 90 minutes, but Flick should have no reservations about his availability for the Champions League in nine days’ time.
Meanwhile, Serge Gnabry had a bounce-back performance, scoring two impressive goals and hitting the crossbar in the second half. He and Coman were frequently swapping flanks, so there appears to be room for both should Flick want more pace in his team.
Noah Katterbach’s injury was key
If there is one area where Bayern’s defense is vulnerable, it’s behind the fullbacks. It’s an area RB Leipzig has tried to exploit for several seasons, and Cologne coach Markus Gisdol attempted to do the same on Sunday.
Ismael Jacobs and Jhon Cordoba both tried to take advantage of that space in the first half. But once Noah Katterbach, Cologne’s left-back, came off injured in the 28th minute, Jacobs was forced to move into defense. Florian Kainz, who replaced Katterbach on the pitch, did not present the same threat as Jacobs, letting Bayern off the hook for some aggressive wing-back play.
Neuer’s spectacular performance reflects badly on Bayern’s defense
Seeing the original sweeper-keeper come off his line to make a last-ditch tackle is no doubt exciting. But both times that Manuel Neuer came to the rescue against Cologne, it was because of a deficiency in Bayern’s defense.
Jerome Boateng had issues dealing with Jhon Cordoba the entire first half – likely why he was subbed off at halftime. When Boateng was undone by the Colombian striker in the first half, Neuer saved his behind by winning the ball before dribbling out of bounds.
But Boateng’s replacement, Lucas Hernandez, didn’t fare any better. The French defender found himself chasing after Mark Uth on a counterattack in the second half before Neuer cleared the ball away. Had Dominick Drexler’s effort been on-target, no one would have been there to stop it.
When Bayern’s attack comes up with three goals, defensive mistakes are negligible, but a team that wants to compete on three fronts needs to be better at the back.