Bayern Munich got back to winning ways this weekend against Köln. The Muncheners return home after earning 3 points post mauling the Billy Goats by four goals. It could easily have been so much more though!
When the game started, you could see how Köln wanted to play. They went about it without letting the magnitude of their opponents get to them and played the game like any other Bundesliga game this season! They were taking risks with their passing and movement. Moreover, they also ran a lot and pressed effectively. A testament to this was when they forced an error from Sule within the first 5 mins, where he misplaced a pass. Unfortunately for Köln, Modeste was offside and the move fizzled out!
But Bayern took that warning seriously! They were not going to rest up. All it took was four more minutes. They were matching Köln press for press. And soon, Lewandowski had the ball in the back of the net! The goal set a new record for Bayern. They made history by scoring in 66 consecutive Bundesliga games. The scale of how impressive this achievement is can be defined by just observing their last goalless game. It was the fixture against Julian Naglesmann’s RB Leipzig in February 2020. Before the world went into a frenzy!
It was also Thomas Muller’s 15th assist this season! Perhaps a new Bundesliga record is brewing over the horizon, in which case he would beat his own record. He needs only about 5 more.
After the goal, Bayern tried to put their foot down. Like how they always do when they have a goal advantage. And it worked for a bit. Köln looked to be rattled and their passing was aimless and pointless. Sideways and no real penetration. Work was rather easy for Bayern’s makeshift back four. But proceedings started to change gradually. Bayern were playing a high line and their makeshift back four were leaving too much space behind to be exploited. Uth almost found a way in. But again! An offside call probably saved Bayern’s blushes!
However, Bayern were not going to let these warning signs get to them. And they soon scored a second goal. Possibly the most attractive goal of the night! Corentin Tolisso made a striking come back to the XI with a wonder goal. It was great stuff all over from Bayern in the build-up as they won the ball back in their half, and started a swift counter-attack. Though they missed the pace of Alphonso Davies, Sabitzer sprinted along the left side and even had the time to get the ball to his favoured right foot, and then cross it across by patiently picking his man. ThomASSIST Muller smartly played the ball back to Tolisso who smashed it away! 2:0. And they missed a huge chance five minutes later to make it 3:0 by playing pin ball in the box, only for Schwabe to keep it away!
And then came the sucker punch for Köln! Uth had the ball in the net a minute after! But the home side’s happiness was short-lived as they were found to be offside once again by VAR!
And as we approached halftime, both teams continued to miss opportunities until the final few seconds of the half. This game had promised to be lively. And it had delivered so far. Both Bayern and Köln are in the Top 3 for taking shots in the league this year. And this half was a perfect example of why this was the case. An attractive half of football. End to end stuff. Loads of crosses from Köln, who stuck to their guns. And I say that because Köln are leading the tally for goals from open play crosses this season in Germany. Unfortunately for them, they failed to get any end product against the Bavarian giants. Bayern on the other hand had been patient and hard working. Press for press, with cutting edge passes. And when you have Muller’s vision, then you have a clear unsurmountable advantage! Bayern had superior quality, and they made it count with their strategies.
The second half saw nothing different. There was one great spell for the home side in the middle, where they even hit the crossbar! But that was it. Nothing spectacular from Köln and things only got harder for them when Bayern decided to give their recovering players some minutes under their belt. Leroy Sane came on and absolutely cleaned Köln up! He had key involvements in both of Lewandowski’s goals in the 2nd half! Especially the second one, where he started the move, ran the entire length of Köln’s half, beat three players with his trickery and threaded the ball through to a free Lewandowski who was going to make no mistake when it was served up like that! Probably my favourite goal of the night! The goal also marked another hat trick for Lewandowski who now has 300 goals in the Bundesliga!
The final few minutes had nothing much to report apart from youngsters Malik Tillman, Omar Richards, and Tanguy Nianzou getting some solid minutes in. A great win for Bayern overall! Restoring their 6 point advantage in the Bundesliga table, over Dortmund, who cut the lead short after taking SC Freiburg to the cleaners on Friday evening. Bayern don’t look like they will falter any time soon. But Dortmund can hope. The leaders travel to Berlin next week and face 13th placed Hertha Berlin, while Dortmund have a tough away trip to Hoffenheim who are 4th in the league. It doesn’t seem like Bayern are going to losing their advantage any time soon.
Written by Alankrith Shankar | Feature Image taken by Alexander Scheuber/Getty Images
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