Bayern grind out another win to increase lead

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The Bayern fans didn’t care in the end. “Super Bayern! Super Bayern!” was the chant after the final whistle as they worshipped their heroes in red. “It wasn’t a great game,” said Robert Lewandowski after the 1-0 win against bottom side 1. FC Köln. It was a deserved but hard-fought three points, just four days after securing the so-called autumn championship. “It wasn’t the easiest game to watch but the important thing is that we won,” summarised Thomas Müller.

The win increased Bayern’s lead at the top of the table from eight points to nine. There are just two games left before the winter break: the first half of the Bundesliga season concludes this Saturday at Stuttgart, before Wednesday’s DFB Cup last 16 clash with Borussia Dortmund. “We realise it’s been a long and drawn-out first half of the season,” said Müller. But Lewandowski stressed that they can’t start thinking about Christmas yet: “We need to focus on the final two games. We need to give whatever we have left.”

Lewandowski breaks down Köln wall

The toll of the last few weeks and months was evident against Köln. Jupp Heynckes pointed out that they “had to be much more lively and quicker” against “ultra-defensive” visitors. “We had to keep shifting the play and tiring out the opposition. We didn’t get behind them.” Heynckes brought fresh legs onto the pitch at half-time with the introduction of Kingsley Coman and James.

“We just had to break down this defensive wall,” said Müller, who eventually played his part in the winning goal. In the 60th minute he flicked on a long ball from Jérôme Boateng into the penalty area for Robert Lewandowski to clinically convert. “He’s a world-class player who’s always there when we need him,” said Heynckes in praise of his Polish goalscorer, who now leads the Bundesliga top scorers’ chart with 15 goals.

Starke’s cold hands hold onto three points

“After taking the lead we went down a gear with Saturday’s game in mind,” added Müller. Coman had a good chance to make it 2-0 but hit the upright with his header on 66 minutes. Tom Starke was then called upon to preserve Bayern’s lead in the dying minutes. “Köln threw everything forward, it was do-or-die, and they even had a chance,” said the 36 year-old, who again deputised for Sven Ulreich in goal. “I was pleased that I was able to keep it out. It wasn’t so easy, my hands were freezing.” Afterwards Starke was bouncing up and down with his teammates in front of the south stand. “We need to win two more games, then everything will be alright,” concluded Müller.

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