Arjen Robben opened the scoring and played a starring role on his return from injury as Bayern Munich eased to a 4-0 Bundesliga win over Cologne.
The Dutch winger was a surprise inclusion in Pep Guardiola’s starting XI for a first appearance since suffering a thigh injury while playing for his country last month.
Having earlier tested Cologne goalkeeper Timo Horn, Robben put the defending champions in front in the 35th minute and Arturo Vidal made it 2-0 at half-time – setting Bayern comfortably on the way to a 1000th Bundesliga victory in their rich history.
Robert Lewandowski continued his rich vein of goalscoring form by heading a third just after the hour, and a Thomas Muller penalty ensured Guardiola’s team bounced back from the midweek Champions League defeat to Arsenal by resoundingly keeping their 100 per cent league record intact.
Cologne crafted an early chance on the counter-attack, Simon Zoller drilling his shot too close to Manuel Neuer, before Robben almost crowned his return in the seventh minute.
Kingsley Coman – back in action himself following a thigh strain – picked out the Netherlands star at the near post, where he pivoted to send a left-footed volley towards the far corner.
Horn displayed fine reactions to save and the Cologne goalkeeper was also called upon to deny Muller in a one-on-one after Lewandowski unlocked the visiting defence.
Bayern had established a firm grip on the game by the time Douglas Costa’s 16th-minute strike was deflected wide but had to wait until 10 minutes before half-time to break the deadlock.
Robben started and finished the move – cutting in from the right in trademark fashion before feeding Muller and picking up the scraps when Lewandowski was unable to flick the resulting cross goalwards.
There was still much to do for the 31-year-old, who nonchalantly rounded Dominic Maroh and Horn to slot home.
Coman was the provider when Guardiola’s men doubled their advantage five minutes later, skipping past Frederik Sorensen and cutting back for Vidal to finish emphatically from the edge of the box.
Horn plunged to his left to push a Robben strike clear in the 58th minute as Bayern continued to make hay down the Cologne left but it was set-piece defending that let the visitors down after the hour.
A cynical foul on Coman brought a booking for Matthias Lehmann and Lewandowski was allowed ample room to glance Costa’s resulting free-kick into the net.
It was the Poland striker’s 23rd goal in 18 appearances for club and country this season – a remarkable return he almost added to when Horn saved a close-range effort in the 70th minute.
Lewandowski had to settle for being bundled over by Maroh to win the 77th-minute spot-kick that Muller coolly converted to extend Bayern’s lead over Borussia Dortmund at the summit to 10 points.
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