Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry both scored twice as Bayern Munich romped to a 5-1 win at home to Cologne on Saturday to open up a five-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga.
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting headed Bayern into an early lead before Lewandowski, the league’s top scorer, struck twice to increase his league tally to 28 goals this season.
Gnabry came off the bench to claim two late goals behind closed doors at the Allianz Arena on his first appearance since tearing a thigh muscle in Bayern’s Club World Cup final win in Qatar.
Second-placed RB Leipzig can trim Bayern’s lead later at home to Borussia Moenchengladbach.
Bayern had taken just a point from their previous two games and coach Hansi Flick made just one change – Choupo-Moting for Kingsley Coman – from the side which routed Lazio 4-1 in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Bayern quickly built a 2-0 lead through Choupo-Moting and Lewandowski with Leon Goretzka playing a big role in both goals.
After floating in a cross which Choupo-Moting headed home on 18 minutes, Goretzka combined with Lewandowski to prise open the Cologne defence.
However, Cologne fought back in their bid to claim a first win in Munich since February 2011.
Midfielder Ellyes Skhiri, who also netted both goals in Cologne’s 2-1 win at Dortmund last November, chipped Manuel Neuer four minutes after the break to pull a goal back.
Flick settled any nerves by bringing on Thomas Mueller for his first appearance a fortnight after testing positive for Covid-19.
A minute after coming on, Mueller’s pass split the Cologne defence and found Lewandowski who restored the two-goal cushion on 65 minutes.
A horrible mistake by Neuer outside his own area left the Bayern goal unattended, but Cologne midfielder Dominick Drexler could only hit the post.
Lewandowski came within a whisker of a hat-trick when he just failed to connect with Lucas Hernandez’s cross.
Gnabry was on hand to make it 4-1 before grabbing his second after Goretzka’s excellent pass with both his goals coming in the last ten minutes.
Meanwhile, England winger Jadon Sancho converted a penalty and Brazil midfielder Reinier scored his first goal for the club as Dortmund stayed fifth with a 3-0 home win over Arminia Bielefeld.
Japan midfielder Wataru Endo netted his first two Bundesliga goals as Stuttgart’s 5-1 thrashing of bottom side Schalke, whose Algeria midfielder Nabil Bentaleb had a second-half penalty saved.
On Friday, fourth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt had their 11-match unbeaten run ended by a shock 2-1 defeat at Werder Bremen, whose rising American star Josh Sargent, 20, hit the winning goal.