Two-goal super striker Robert Lewandowski led the way as Bayern returned to winning ways in the Bundesliga and got the Oktoberfest season off to a positive start with an emphatic 4-0 victory over FC Köln on Saturday afternoon.
The 75,000 full house at the Allianz Arena saw Lewandowski, making his 250th appearance in all competitions for Bayern, maintain his impressive record of scoring in every competitive match this term with the third-minute opener. The Pole followed that with the second goal three minutes into the second half, equalling the all-time record of nine after five matchdays, set by Borussia Mönchengladbach’s Peter Meyer in 1967/68.
Philippe Coutinho opened his account for the record champions from a twice-taken penalty just after the hour following an incident in which Köln’s Kingsley Ehizibue was shown a straight red card, with Ivan Perisic adding the fourth ten minutes later.
A third victory in five Bundesliga matches so far elevates the champions to top spot in the table at the final whistle, although Leipzig, Dortmund and Wolfsburg all have yet to play and could knock the Reds off their perch.
Two changes for the Reds
Boss Niko Kovac made two changes from the side that started Wednesday’s 3-0 win over Red Star Belgrade. Jerome Boateng returned at the centre of defence, meaning Benjamin Pavard moved to right-back and Joshua Kimmich into central midfield. Kingsley Coman started among the subs after suffering from a sore neck, his place on the wing going to Serge Gnabry. Coutinho and Perisic retained their places, with Thiago beginning on the bench. There was also a place along the subs for 18-year-old forward Joshua Zirkzee, two days after he signed a contract extension through to 2023.
For the promoted visitors, captained by Germany international Jonas Hector, coach Achim Beierlorzer made three changes to the team beaten at home by Mönchengladbach last time out, with Marco Höger, Florian Kainz and Kingsley Schindler starting in place of Birger Verstraete (surgery), Louis Schaub and Anthony Modeste.
Fast starter Lewy
Bayern wasted no time after referee Patrick Ittrich whistled play underway on a glorious early autumn afternoon in Munich, Kimmich teeing up Lewandowski just three minutes in for the super striker to open the scoring and move onto eight Bundesliga goals for the season.
The men in red kept the pace high and created a string of chances, but Coutinho’s free-kick clattered off the goal frame, Perisic saw a shot and a header blocked, and keeper Timo Horn clawed a looping effort away to safety.
The pattern of the match changed midway through the first half as the home side shifted down a gear and the visitors switched to a more solid 4-1-4-1 formation. Köln seized the initiative with a swerving Jhon Cordoba drive, a Dominick Drexler half-chance, and a Kainz free-kick that had Manuel Neuer scrambling across his line, but the men from Munich ended the first period on the front foot, Lewandowski dropping a chipped shot onto the roof of the net, and the narrow half-time lead was not undeserved.
First goal for Philippe
The second period opened with a near carbon-copy of the first as Lewandowski doubled the score from a Kimmich assist three minutes after the starting whistle, although this time the Pole finished off the German’s corner with his head.
The Reds added a third on 62 minutes when Coutinho, poised to score his maiden goal for Bayern, was bundled over in the box by Ehizibue. The Munich-born Köln defender saw a straight red card and, after a false start caused by Horn coming off his line, the Brazilian tucked away his first for the Bavarians.
It was all Bayern now and Kimmich hit the post before giving way to sumemer signing Michael Cuisance, with Thomas Müller replacing Lewandowski – Javi Martinez had earlier taken over from Boateng.
It was left to Perisic to apply the icing to the cake with Bayern’s fourth in the 73rd minute, the Croatia international burying a left-footed shot from Coutinho’s fine assist to round off the scoring.
Live match report for fcbayern.com by Chris Hamley
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Neuer – Pavard, Süle, Boateng (Martinez 59'), Hernandez – Kimmich (Cuisance 71'), Tolisso – Gnabry, Coutinho, Perisic – Lewandowski (Müller 71')
Ulreich, Thiago, Davies, Coman, Mai, Zirkzee
1. FC Köln
Horn – Ehizibue, Bornauw, Czichos, Hector – Kainz (Mere 64'), Drexler, Skhiri, Höger (Bader 79'), Schindler – Cordoba (Terodde 72')
Kessler, Sobiech, Hauptmann, Risse, Schaub, Modeste
Patrick Ittrich (Hamburg)
1-0 Lewandowski (3'), 2-0 Lewandowski (48'), 3-0 Coutinho (62', pen), 4-0 Perisic (73')
Boateng, Hernandez, Martinez, Cuisance / -
- / Ehizibue (59', foul as last man)