Julian Nagelsmann picked up his first Bundesliga win with Bayern Munich on Sunday as they edged past Cologne 3-2 courtesy of a Serge Gnabry brace.
Robert Lewandowski broke the deadlock in the 50th minute, scoring in his 12th consecutive Bundesliga appearance, and Gnabry inflicted further damage eight minutes later.
Cologne refused to surrender, though, Anthony Modeste heading home before Mark Uth equalised to cap off three goals in four chaotic second-half minutes.
Gnabry, however, netted his second to restore Bayern’s advantage, arrowing into the roof of the net and sealing three points for the hosts.
Thomas Muller spurned the first chance of the game, poking a sliding finish wide after a driving run by Lewandowski down the right.
Niklas Sule then enjoyed a rare foray forward, twisting and turning inwards before firing towards goal, where Timo Horn reacted acrobatically to tip over.
The hosts failed to make their 62 per cent of first-half possession pay but a double half-time change proved vital, Jamal Musiala – introduced for Leroy Sane – creating the opener.
The substitute roamed forwards before pulling back for Lewandowski to tap-in, the finish equalling his personal record of 12 consecutive Bundesliga appearances with a goal, previously achieved with Borussia Dortmund in 2012-13.
Gnabry made matters worse for the visitors, collecting his 10th goal in eight appearances against Sunday’s opponents by arriving at the back post to convert Josip Stanisic’s low cross.
However, Cologne pulled a goal back with their first shot on target, Modeste redirecting a header past Manuel Neuer from Jonas Hector’s delivery.
Uth shocked the home crowd with his 62nd-minute equaliser, diving to prod low past Neuer after Kingsley Ehizibue’s curler from the right.
The visitors remained level for only eight minutes, though, Gnabry firing powerfully past Horn before Lewandowski almost added a fourth, only to be denied by the crossbar.
— OptaFranz (@OptaFranz) August 22, 2021
What does it mean? Nagelsmann on the board as control over Cologne continues
Nagelsmann became the first Bayern boss in 10 years not to win on the opening day of a new Bundesliga season with a 1-1 draw against Borussia Monchengladbach.
However, the former RB Leipzig coach picked up the DFL-Supercup with a 3-1 win over Borussia Dortmund in midweek and now has his first Bundesliga win with his new side.
The hosts have now won each of their past eight games against Cologne and are undefeated in 15 such Bundesliga fixtures, too – their longest winning streak and the longest unbeaten run against any current team in the top flight.
Lewandowski marches on
Lewandowski’s opener means he has now scored a goal in every one of his past 12 Bundesliga games.
However, the Poland forward’s link-up play was also excellent – making a game-high two key passes and competing for the joint-most duels (17) as he embroiled himself in a battle with Jorge Mere and Rafael Czichos.
Nagelsmann’s star attacker now has four goals across all competitions for the season and he will be hoping he can fire his team to their 10th straight Bundesliga title.
Dejan Ljubicic set the tone for a poor performance with a needless booking in the first half for not retreating to block Bayern’s quick free-kick.
The midfielder completed just 61.5 per cent of his 26 attempted passes, while also touching the ball just 37 times as he struggled against Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka in the middle of the park.
Bayern travel to Bremer on Wednesday in the DFB-Pokal before hosting Hertha Berlin on Saturday. Meanwhile, Cologne return to RheinEnergieSTADION to face Bochum on the same day.
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