Timo Werner celebrated his 200th Bundesliga appearance with his 12th goal of the season and Emil Forsberg grabbed a brace as RB Leipzig made short work of lowly Cologne to go second in the table.
RB Leipzig 4-1 Cologne
Goals: 1-0 Werner (22'), 2-0 Forsberg (pen. 32'), 3-0 Laimer (37'), 3-1 Czichos (39'), 4-1 Forsberg (79')
Buoyed by a run of four wins in all competitions before the international break, Leipzig made a bright start, with Diego Demme firing a warning shot just over the bar after Marcel Sabitzer's free-kick was blocked by the wall. Cologne resisted manfully for 22 minutes, until an error from Jonas Hector allowed Christopher Nkunku to tee up Werner for the opening goal. The Frenchman was then brought down in the area by Kingsley Ehizibue on the half-hour, with Emil Forsberg doubling the hosts' advantage from the spot. The floodgates looked set to open when Konrad Laimer smashed in a sensational third with his supposedly weaker left foot a few minutes later, but Rafael Czichos headed in a Birger Verstraete corner to give new Cologne coach Markus Gisdol and his side a glimmer of hope before half-time.
Leipzig continued to pour forward in the second half, with Nkunku attempting an acrobatic effort after a one-two with Marcel Halstenberg. The Frenchman went close again a minute later, and Forsberg then flashed an attempt inches wide of Timo Horn's left-hand post. Sabitzer was the next man to try his luck, but his shot was deflected over for a corner, while Werner squandered a great chance to get his brace, blazing over from near the penalty spot. Anthony Modeste had a brilliant opportunity to bring Cologne back into the contest midway through the half, but the Frenchman headed well over from Marcel Risse's inch-perfect cross. That did briefly spark a bit of life into the visitors, but Forsberg had the final word as he curled in a superb free-kick 11 minutes from time. Leipzig go back up to second, ahead of Bayern Munich on goal difference and a point behind Borussia Mönchengladbach.
- At 23 years, eight months and 18 days old, Werner is the youngest player to reach 200 Bundesliga appearances.
- The Germany striker now has 75 Bundesliga goals in total. Only Gerd Müller and Dieter Müller were younger when they reached that milestone, in 1968 and 1977 respectively.
- Werner is up to 12 for the campaign, which is a new personal best during the Hinrunde. He's also the first Leipzig player to reach a dozen goals in the first half of a Bundesliga season.
- Forsberg scored the first penalty to be awarded in a game between these sides. He also notched his first brace and first direct free-kick in the Bundesliga. All four of his goals this term have come at home.
- Laimer netted his first Bundesliga goal of 2019/20, adding to strikes earlier this term in the UEFA Champions League and the DFB Cup.
- Leipzig have scored 24 goals in their last five competitive games. Of those, 14 were either scored or assisted by Werner.
- Six of Cologne's 11 goals this season have been headers, with five of them coming from corners. Czichos's effort ticked both boxes.
Watch: Timo Werner on how it feels to reach 200 Bundesliga appearances at the tender age of 23
Leipzig: Gulacsi - Klostermann, Upamecano, Ilsanker, Halstenberg (Saracchi 82') - Sabitzer, Laimer, Demme (c), Nkunku (Schick 76') - Forsberg (Haidara 80') - Werner
Unused subs: Mvogo, Lookman, Cunha, Ampadu, Kampl
Out: Adams (groin), Konate (hamstring), Mukiele (hamstring), Orban (knee), Poulsen (back), Wolf (ankle)
Coach: Julian Nagelsmann
Cologne: Horn - Ehizibue, Bornauw, Czichos, Hector (c) - Skhiri (Kainz 46'), Höger (Terodde 70'), Verstraete - Schindler (Risse 59'), Modeste, Jakobs
Unused subs: Kessler, Schmitz, Sobiech, Schaub, Cordoba, Drexler,
Out: Clemens (knee), Katterbach (hamstring), Koziello (ankle), Mere (calf)
Coach: Markus Gisdol