Bayern Trounce Köln
The match would start off fairly slowly with no real action in the first 15 minutes but then Leon Goretzka would play in a wonderful pass to the back post and Choupo-Moting was there to head it home 1-0. 18 minutes later, Lewandowski and Goretzka combined in the center of the pitch with the latter ultimately setting up the striker for an easy goal to make it 2-0.
After the half Köln would get one back in the 49th minute through Skhiri thanks to an apparent miscommunication between David Alaba and Jerome Boateng where both players backed off a loose ball at the top of the box. However in the 65th minute, immediately after the reintroduction of Müller, he picked out a great pass to Lewandowski who made no mistake for his second goal.
From there Bayern would largely take their foot off the gas with a lot of mental mistakes at the back including several from Manuel Neuer, but Köln were never able punished them. Eventually Gnabry came on and scored two more goals for the Munich side and Goretzka picked up his third assist of the match to win 5-1.
In a match that they largely never got out of second gear, Bayern were clinical in front of goal. Whenever they did put on that little big of extra speed, they pounced. Lewandowski scored two more goals, very important goals, in his race to equal or surpass Gerd Müller’s Bundesliga record and is currently sitting on 28 this season.
Leon Goretzka had a fantastic day providing three assists. Jamal Musiala provided that spark in the midfield that Bayern have missed at times this season. His consistent running and pressing really put pressure on the Köln players and lead to some mistakes. Choupo-Moting finally got on the scoresheet with a nice little header thanks to a great pass from Goretzka. But more important were the returns of Gnabry and Müller, both of whom made an immediate impact.
With their return, Bayern are nearly back at full strength up front with only Costa still absent. With a few “normal” weeks where they won’t be obligated to play midweek, this could be a very important time for them to get a little rested up and recuperated prior to the final push to the end of the season.
The area again that was cause for concern was the defense. Uncharacteristically, Neuer had several slips of his own, the most memorable of which left Köln with a wide open goal that they somehow managed not to score on.
However, the more concerning issue was the communication between Alaba and Boateng. For much of the second half, the two looked as though they had never played with each other before. They were constantly getting in each other’s way, leaving players open or otherwise misunderstanding the other’s movements and intentions.
It would be easy to say that this is a one off thing, and in many ways you’d probably have a point as largely this has not been the issue this season. However, it continues a trend of lapses and problems at the back that date back to the start of the season. Alaba’s inconsistent play this season is probably the most concerning given that he is supposed to be the defensive leader and is apparently untouchable in Flick’s lineup.
While Lewandowski and Gnabry both scored two goals, it was Goretzka that really seemed to be running things today. He had a fantastic match offensively. His passes seemed to always be on target and as mentioned earlier, those resulted in three assists.
Additionally, he and Kimmich looked like the pairing we saw last year and dominated the midfield int his match. Leon providing the big physical boss and Kimmich the playstation out of the back. When the two of them are playing at a high level, Bayern tend to look far more solid and dangerous. Now Bayern will have a week off to get ready for their headliner matchup agains Dortmund next weekend. The good news is that is more time for players to get healthy and rest up and you would imagine that they will come out looking a lot more similar to how they did against Lazio than Frankfurt or even Köln.