Bayern Munich got their first victory of 2022 on Saturday afternoon, as Robert Lewandowski reached 300 Bundesliga goals and Die Roten broke yet another record in a 4-0 win at FC Koln.
The win marked the 66th consecutive Bundesliga fixture in which Bayern had found the back of the net, beating the previous record set by (guess who?) themselves. The last time the club failed to score a goal in a league game was before Covid-19 forced Germany into their first lockdown.
And it didn't take long for Julian Nagelsmann's men to secure that new record on Saturday, breaking the deadlock in the ninth minute following a very quick VAR check after the referee had originally called offside. The visitors broke away in typically devastating fashion, before Thomas Muller teed up Lewandowski - who held his run perfectly - to finish calmly past Marvin Schwabe.
Bayern doubled their lead 14 minutes later courtesy of a stunning finish from Corentin Tolisso. Latching onto Marcel Sabitzer's cross-field pass, the Frenchman combined nonchalantly with Muller in the Koln box, before thrashing a picture-book half-volley into the top corner.
The Billy Goats held their heads up however, and always carried a niggling threat to their opposition. They thought they'd pulled a goal back before half time, although had their party ruined by a VAR review. Mark Uth did fantastically to sidestep Benjamin Pavard and slot past Manuel Neuer, only for a quick check to immediately show him in an offside position before running onto Florian Kainz's through ball.
Their uncharacteristic lack of cutting edge and fluidity in forward areas, however, cost them as Lewandowski sealed the result just after the hour-mark. After the Pole had squandered a one-on-one opportunity and Jamal Musiala clipped the post with a fierce effort following the interval, the Bundesliga's leading scorer bagged his second of the day with a clinical finish from substitute Leroy Sane's pass.
The hosts reacted well to force Neuer into a sharp stop before hitting the crossbar from a corner, although were made to rue wasted opportunities once more as Lewandowski notched his 300th Bundesliga goal by securing a hat-trick. Following some brilliant work and vision from Sane, the striker had the chance laid on a plate before calmly sweeping home for a historic moment.
Although going on the hunt for more goals, that strike was an appropriate ending to the scoring as Bayern could walk off the pitch with beaming smiles, having restored a six-point cushion at the Bundesliga summit.
Bayern Munich player ratings
1. Goalkeeper & defenders
Manuel Neuer (GK) - 7/10 - Was lucky when VAR ruled out Uth's strike but was generally sharp throughout. Needs three more clean sheets to break the Bundesliga record - obviously.
Joshua Kimmich (RB) - 9/10 - Impenetrable on the back foot, making seven ball recoveries, and hugely involved when venturing forward to create for others, managing a whopping eight key passes throughout.
Benjamin Pavard (CB) - 7/10 - Hugely solid in his defensive duties, registering seven interventions as well as winning two aerial duels.
Niklas Sule (CB) - 7/10 - Contrary to his future, his performance against Koln was wholly certain and assured, proving dominant whenever called upon.
Marcel Sabitzer (LB) - 6/10 - Not terrible at all, but looked a little uncomfortable with his role. He just isn't a left-back really, is he?
Marc Roca (CM) - 6/10 - Lacked the creativity and penetration that Kimmich provides from deep areas but was a good screen to the back four, tidying up neatly.
Corentin Tolisso (CM) - 8/10 - Floated around really nicely, battling away defensively and adding a threatening presence in advanced areas - notably getting a sensational second for his side in the first half.
Thomas Muller (AM) - 8/10 - This guy's instinct for a killer pass is just ridiculous. Linked play effortlessly throughout, registering four key passes and earning his 15th and 16th Bundesliga assists of the campaign.
Serge Gnabry (RW) - 7/10 - Tenacious performance, haring around on the press and making four tackles, while also providing an incessantly lively presence on the front foot.
Robert Lewandowski (ST) - 10/10 - Characteristically cool in front of goal to score another hat-trick from an xG of 1.6. 300 Bundesliga goals. Generational.
Jamal Musiala (LW) - 6/10 - Popped up to inject little sparks and flashes of quality, although did so pretty infrequently. Unlucky to clip the post in the second half before being hooked off on the hour-mark.
Leroy Sane (LW) - 8/10 - Came on and provided two assists to Lewandowski. Ideal.
Omar Richards (LB) - 6/10
Tanguy Nianzou (CB) - 6/10
Malik Tillman (AM) - N/A
Paul Wanner (CM) - N/A