Bayern Munich cruised to a comfortable 1-0 victory over Köln at the RheinEnergieStadion. This victory puts the current Bundesliga champions ahead in the table by eight points with Borussia Dortmund yet to play.
The visitors made a couple of changes to their starting eleven following their midweek clash with Juventus. Medhi Benatia and David Alaba switched positions with the latter moving back to a central role in the defense. Arturo Vidal was moved to the bench with Sebastian Rode taking his spot in the eleven. In the final change, Rafinha replaced Philipp Lahm at left back.
Koln, on the other hand, set up in a more defensive tactic. Mergim Mavraj was added as the third central defender and Filip Mladenovic was sent to the bench.
Bayern Munich strike early
It took but ten minutes for Bayern Munich to find the opening goal. Thiago Alcantara sent a ball into the box but it bounced off of Koln's Frederik Sorensen. The deflection fell straight to Robert Lewandowski. He took a couple of touches before rifling a right-footed shot past Timo Horn.
In the 23rd minute, Bayern Munich had their next opportunity on goal following a bit of a lull in the match. Kingsley Coman stood over a free kick before curling it too much and saw his attempt hit the side netting.
There was nothing of note outside of the opening goal in the first half. Bayern Munich dominated the proceedings and probed constantly by making darting runs in behind. That goal was no less than what they deserved and could have done with one or two more.
Defense holds firm
Koln's first half-chance did not come until the 53rd minute. They had been closed down when on possession quickly and turned it over far too readily. But after a successful counter attack, Anthony Modeste could not get his header on the target. This was a big opportunity for the hosts to potentially draw level. They squandered it though, much to the dismay of their supporters.
The hosts then looked to have gotten away with a handball in the 59th minute. Frank Ribéry raced to the byline before attempting to send a cross back towards the middle of the area. However, Mavraj looked to have blocked the cross with his harm. The referee did not give the penalty as the play continued.
Bayern Munich came close to scoring a second soon after the hour mark. Robert Lewandowski struck a shot from the middle of the area but the effort just missed. The ball missed the target to the right. This could have been a vital goal for the visitors as it would have surely put the match out of reach.
Towards the latter stages of the match, Koln started to become more adventurous in the final third. With 16 minutes remaining in the match, Modeste and Manuel Neuer collided in the box. The Koln striker regained possession, turned to shoot, but had his shot blocked by David Alaba in the end.
The big Koln striker had another chance on goal four minutes later. Mavraj slipped Modeste through with a well-weighted pass. Modeste managed to get his toe on the ball in but the striker was in an offside position again.
This victory was a big confidence booster for Pep Guardiola's side. After coming back from a tough Champions League victory, a slip of form could have proved costly. That did not happen though as they scored early and kept their composure at the back throughout.