Serge Gnabry scored two with Robert Lewandowski and Kingsley Coman also on target as Bayern Munich dampened the carnival spirits in Cologne with a 4-1 win which took them back to the top of the Bundesliga.
Carnival came early to Cologne, with goals falling like confetti, albeit into the hosts' goal. The first arrived after only a handful of minutes with Thomas Müller sending Lewandowski through to do what he does best, chalking up his 23rd of the season emphatically. Almost all of the Bayern team was involved in creating their second, with Lewandowski and Müller forming a triangle with Kingsley Coman, who supplied the finish. Gnabry got in on the act in the 12th minute with a fine finish from the edge of the penalty area, and both Joshua Kimmich and Thiago Alcantara had chances to make it four quicker than it takes to boil an egg before Gnabry and Kimmich rattled the frame of the goal as the chances kept coming in a one-sided first 45 minutes.
Cologne coach Markus Gisdol clearly found the right words in the dressing room and his side came out transformed. Jhon Cordoba had the ball in the back of the net within a minute of the restart, but VAR ruled it out for offside. The offside flag came to Bayern's rescue again to rule out another Cordoba strike as the Billy Goats looked to make a game of it. Manuel Neuer came bursting off his line to deny Mark Uth a clean sight of goal, but when Bayern got a sniff of goal, they struck again with Gnabry receiving the ball from Alphonso Davies, dribbling past his man and then curling his effort into the far corner. Uth replied with a consolation for Cologne, from Florian Kainz's open invitation and Cordoba was denied a second by Neuer, who also kept out two big chances for Anthony Modeste and ensured Bayern's win ultimately looked more convincing than it could have been.
- Lewandowski gave Bayern a 1-0 lead for the ninth time this season, with his 23rd goal of the season – only Gerd Müller (three times) had so many after 22 games of a season.
- Bayern have scored a league high 12 goals within the first 15 minutes of games this season.
- No other club has hit the woodwork more times than Bayern (16) this season.
- Cologne had never before been 3-0 down after just 12 minutes.
- Gnabry made his 50th Bundesliga appearance for Bayern, and scored his fifth and sixth goals in five games against Cologne - his second brace against the Billy Goats.
Watch: Gnabry: "Cologne had no chance in the first half"
Cologne: Horn - Ehizibue, Bornauw, Czichos, Katterbach (Kainz 28')- Skhiri, Hector (c) - Drexler, Uth, Jakobs (Schmitz 72') - Cordoba (Modeste 81')
Unused subs: Krahl, Höger, Terodde, Rexhbecaj, Thielmann, Leistner
Out: Kessler (calf)
Coach: Markus Gisdol
Bayern: Neuer (c) - Pavard, Boateng (Hernandez 46'), Alaba, Davies - Kimmich (Tolisso 59'), Thiago - Gnabry, Müller, Coman (Goretzka 79') - Lewandowski
Unused subs: Ulreich, Odriozola, Coutinho, Cuisance, Zirkzee
Out: Martinez (thigh), Perisic (ankle), Süle (torn ACL)
Coach: Hansi Flick
Watch: Davies: "We have to fight every game to stay top"