Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich smash Koln and prove there is no Bundesliga title race

Max Parsons
Another collectively brilliant win by Bayern Munich
Another collectively brilliant win by Bayern Munich / Alexander Scheuber/GettyImages

On Friday night, a full-strength Borussia Dortmund side thrashed high-flying Freiburg 5-1 to beg the question: Hang on, is there really a title race going on here?

The victory put Marco Rose's team just three points behind Bundesliga-leading Bayern Munich, who had the pressure put on them ahead of their trip to sixth-placed FC Koln - who, like Freiburg, have punched above their weight this campaign.

In true Bayern style, a depleted squad travelled north-west to thrash their impressive opponents and, in doing so, replied to their arch enemy's piping up by saying: Oh, behave (read that in Danny Dyer's voice, not Austin Powers').

No Lucas Hernandez, no Leon Goretzka, no Alphonso Davies, no Kingsley Coman, no Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting; no problem.

While a glittering BVB display was once again tarnished by the emergence of their well-rehearsed disaster of a defensive block (they've kept just two clean sheets in 19 games this campaign), Julian Nagelsmann's side were typically dynamic, tenacious, collectively strong and utterly ruthless.

Robert Lewandowski, Leroy Sane
Bayern Munich were excellent against FC Koln / Alexander Scheuber/GettyImages

The 4-0 victory over Koln was headlined by two pieces of history-making. It marks the 66th consecutive Bundesliga fixture in which Die Roten have scored - a new record, beating their own previous best - while Robert Lewandowski's match-dominating hat-trick brought his 300th strike in the German top flight - who ever said the late Gerd Muller's record tally of 365 was unmatchable?

While those are hugely satisfying footnotes in what was an enjoyable afternoon for Bayern supporters, the rest of the league should be bowing their heads in dismay - not because of records, but because of the manner in which they dismissed a side currently riding the crest of a wave.

From defensive solidity to captivating creativity, Nagelsmann's side were enigmatic and simply untouchable to their hosts throughout.

Their all-encompassing brilliance was epitomised by Joshua Kimmich who, recovering from Covid-19 complications that kept him out of action for nearly two months, was absolutely insatiable as he deputised in his former right-back role. The German racked up seven ball recoveries and two clearances as he denied Koln's left flank any sort of joy, while also managing an unbelievable eight key passes when venturing into dangerous areas.

It will rightly be Lewandowski who hogs the headlines for a landmark afternoon. But in truth, the Pole reaching 300 Bundesliga goals with a hat-trick shouldn't even come to us as a surprise.

While Dortmund's win over Freiburg may have started a small, hopeful fire on Friday, Bayern's crushing of Koln less than 24 hours later was a disheartening blanket that put it out. Although a six-point gap is by no means conclusive, a tenth consecutive Meisterschale now seems inevitable.