Serge Gnabry and Thomas Müller stepped up to the plate in the absence of Robert Lewandowski as Bayern Munich moved to top of the Bundesliga standings with victory in Cologne.
Winless in the Bundesliga since March, Cologne made a confident start and experienced some joy in the wide areas, but a handball decision against Borussia Dortmund loanee Marius Wolf handed the initiative over to Bayern. With first-choice penalty taker Lewandowski given a rare day off, Müller swept home from the penalty spot with 14 minutes gone and Bayern, save a shot across goal from Ismail Jakobs, duly took charge. Leroy Sane was unable to turn in from close range after Timo Horn could only parry Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting’s header, but Gnabry made no mistake with his finish on the stroke of half-time, the returning winger capping a blistering counter with a fine run in off the right flank and left-footed finished from 18 yards.
Horn denied Gnabry his second soon after the restart with a flying save to thwart the Germany international's towering header. The lively Jakobs returned fire for Cologne, but could only find the side netting from an acute angle inside the Bayern area. With an eye on next week's fixtures against Red Bull Salzburg and Dortmund, Bayern head coach Hansi Flick hooked the returning Sane just past the hour-mark. Douglas Costa was his replacement, but it was the fresh legs of Cologne who came up trumps. After Jakobs had glanced a header wide, Dominick Drexler turned in fellow substitute Jan Thielmann's strike to reduce the arrears - the goal standing following a VAR review. Despite the fourth official's board indicating four added minutes, Cologne could not find a way to equalise.
- Bayern have scored 24 goals after six rounds of fixtures, breaking a record set by Borussia Mönchengladbach in 1973/74.
- Lewandowski has missed just 15 Bundesliga matches since joining Bayern in summer 2014.
- Müller registered his 122nd Bundesliga goal, overtaking Miroslav Klose and Lothar Matthäus on Bayern’s all-time list of German top-flight scorers.
- The result represents Müller’s 260th Bundesliga win, matching Oliver Kahn’s best-mark, albeit in fewer games (357 compared to 429).
- Gnabry has scored seven goals in six career meetings against Cologne.
- Choupo-Moting made his first Bundesliga start since April 2017.
Watch: "Thomas Müller told me to go inside" - Serge Gnabry reflects on his goal
Cologne: T. Horn (c) - Wolf, Bornauw, Czichos, J. Horn (Katterbach 59') - Skhiri (Drexler 59'), Özcan - Limnios (Thielmann 59'), Duda, Jakobs - Andersson (Arokodare 79')
Unused subs: Zieler, Ehizibue, Rexhbecaj, Mere, Sörensen
Out: Hector (neck), Höger (not included), Kainz (knee), Modeste (thigh)
Coach: Markus Gisdol
Bayern: Neuer (c) - Pavard, Boateng, Süle, Sarr - Kimmich, Martinez (Alaba 79') - Gnabry (Roca 90+4'), Müller, Sane (Costa 63') - Choupo-Moting (Zirkzee 63')
Unused subs: Nübel, Hernandez, Coman, Musiala
Out: Davies (ankle), Goretzka (calf), Lewandowski (not included), Nianzou (thigh), Tolisso (suspended)
Coach: Hansi Flick