Bayern Munich got back to winning ways at the Allianz Arena on Saturday with a 4-0 win over FC Koln as the reigning Bundesliga champions return – however briefly – to the top of the table.
Die Roten quickly opened the scoring through Robert Lewandowski after some good build-up play in midfield, but failed to create any further great chances in the opening 45 minutes bar a Philippe Coutinho free kick which hit the crossbar.
Lewandowski started the second half in a similar fashion to the first, nodding home a Joshua Kimmich corner to double Bayern's lead. Coutinho won and then dispatched the penalty for his first goal for the club, with Kingsley Ehizibue being sent off for the foul.
The Brazilian then set up Ivan Perisic for the fourth of the game as Bayern cruised to a victory in front of their home fans.
Key Talking Point
Despite the scoreline, Bayern's performance was not without its problems. Having started in both halves in brilliant fashion, Die Roten were lethargic and lacklustre in possession and were open to counter attacks from Koln – especially in the first half.
However, the huge gulf in quality between their respective squads showed in the second half as Bayern romped to victory. Once again, the manager had to rely on individual brilliance as Lewandowski and Coutinho bailed his side out yet again.
With the fans already split on whether Kovac is the right man for the job, this performance did nothing but give the doubters more fuel – despite the margin of victory.
Starting XI: Neuer (7); Pavard (7), Boateng (7), Süle (7), Lucas (7); Tolisso (8), Kimmich (9); Gnabry (7), Coutinho (10*), Perisic (9); Lewandowski (9).
Substitutes: Martinez (6), Muller (6), Cuisance (6).
STAR PLAYER - Despite superb performances from Kimmich and Lewandowski, the honour goes to the Brazilian loanee Philippe Coutinho. He and his teammates did struggle in the first half, but the Bavarians started dominating thanks to the diminutive midfielder.
He helped set up the first goal with a good dummy, won a penalty after a brilliant run and assisted Perisic with a great ball. His creativity was much needed – especially with Kovac resting Thiago – and Coutinho stepped up brilliantly.
Philippe Coutinho looks to be just what Bayern Munich needed in the number ten position. He has been so lively ever since he made his debut and scores a goal against Koln.— Kaustubh Pandey (@Kaus_Pandey17) September 21, 2019
The Bundesliga is tailor-made for a player like him.
Key Talking Point
Die Geißböcke have yet to learn from their previous matches as Achim Beierlorzer's side kept up their record of going behind in every Bundesliga fixture they've played this season.
They did create a lot of half-chances after a poor start and limited the Bavarians to just a handful of opportunities. However, in the second half, Bayern's quality was too much and Koln were beaten away to a much expected defeat.
Beierlorzer can take away a few good things from this performance – notably how well his side played in the first half.
Starting XI: Horn (6); Ehizibue (4), Czichos (6), Bornauw (6), Hector (6); Hoger (6), Skhiri (6); Schindler (6), Drexler (6), Kainz (6); Cordoba (6*).
Substitutes: Mere (6), Terodde (6), Bader (6).
STAR PLAYER - There were no standout performers for obvious reasons but Jhon Córdoba was perhaps their best player on the day.
He squandered some difficult half-chances, but his movement was great and had he had his shooting boots on, the Colombian could have been on the scoresheet.
Bayern just let off the hook with Cordoba's wide shot after a sloppy pass from Boateng...phewww #FCBKOE— Bavarian Football Works (@BavarianFBWorks) September 21, 2019
44' That Bayern slump when they score quickly is real, annoying and dangerous. Córdoba just nearly grabbed an equaliser.— Straight Red (@straightredblog) September 21, 2019
Koln with a chance through Cordoba. Sule blocks the shot behind for a corner. #FCBKOE— Bavarian Football Works (@BavarianFBWorks) September 21, 2019
Bayern managed to secure a much-needed win to go above Leipzig before the Saxony side play later in the day.
Die Roten next go to Paderborn in what should be an easy win for the Bavarian giants as they look to start to motor at the top of the table. Koln welcome Hertha Berlin next, and need to be at their best in what could already be considered a relegation six-pointer.