FC Bayern beat Köln 1-0 on Wednesday evening, moving nine points clear in the Bundesliga table. The Bavarians dominated proceedings throughout but had to wait for Robert Lewandowski to score what proved to be the match-winner on the hour mark.
The Bavarians started with Tom Starke between the sticks and Rafinha, Jérôme Boateng, Niklas Süle and David Alaba in a back four. Sebastian Rudy anchored a midfield featuring Thomas Müller, Corentin Tolisso, Arutro Vidal and Franck Ribéry, with Lewandowski as sole striker.
Jupp Heynckes made four changes to the XI that saw off Frankfurt on Saturday. Rafinha, Rudy, Tolisso and Lewandowski returned for Joshua Kimmich, Javi Martínez, Kingsley Coman and James. The latter two took over from Tolisso and Vidal at half-time, Kimmich replacing Ribéry with a quarter-hour to go.
Goalless first half
The 75,000 capacity crowd at the Allianz Arena saw Bayern signal their intent from the off. Köln, who struggled with a lengthy injury roster, parked the bus, the German record champions camping out in their opponents' half. But Heynckes' troops struggled to find gaps, and when they did, they were denied by visiting netminder Timo Horn or the linesman's offside flag, or miscued their finishes.
A Tolisso through-ball found Ribéry, who had ghosted past Köln's rearguard, but the Frenchman's first touch let him down. A Lewandowski effort was blocked by two defenders before Süle saw a header go over the bar. Lewandowski tested Horn from 20 yards before seeing another effort go wide, although Köln's Milos Jojic soon warmed Starke's gloves on the break. Müller connected with a fine through-ball by Süle but found the side-netting from a tight angle.
When match official Daniel Siebert blew for half-time Bayern had enjoyed 85 percent of the ball. Every single stat reflected their dominance, except the one that counts - goals.
Lewy breaks the deadlock
The second half almost began with a shock for the home side, when Köln's Lukas Klünter beat Bayern's defenders to a through-ball, but the rearguard caught up and cleared the danger. An Alaba effort and a Müller header went just wide before Bayern finally made their dominance count. A majestic Boateng chip found Müller in the box, whose header invited Lewandowski to crash home on the hour mark.
The Reds almost doubled the lead when a Boateng cross found Alaba, but the Austrian's header cannoned back into play off the bar. Köln upped the pace in the closing stages, Klünter forcing a fine save from Starke before Süle blocked a shot, and Siebert blew for full-time.
The result takes Bayern onto 38 points from 16 matches, nine clear of new second-placed team Schalke. The Reds are back in action in just three days, when they travel to face Stuttgart before entertaining Borussia Dortmund in the DFB Cup next Wednesday.
Live match report for fcbayern.com by Greg Salmen
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Starke - Rafinha, Boateng, Süle, Alaba - Rudy - Müller, Tolisso (Coman 46), Vidal (James 46), Ribéry (Kimmich 76) - Lewandowski
Weinkauf, Hummels, Martínez, Wriedt
1. FC Köln
T. Horn - Sörensen, Mere, Heintz, J. Horn (Kusic 76) - Olkowski, Özcan, Jojic, Lehmann (Clemens 84), Handwerker (Führich 66) - Klünter
Müller, Risa, Quahim, Bisseck
Daniel Siebert (Berlin)
1-0 Lewandowski (60)
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