Robert Lewandowski scored his 300th goal in the Bundesliga with a hat-trick as Bayern Munich secured a comprehensive 4-0 victory over 1.FC Koln.

Bayern Munich restored their six-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga table thanks to a resounding 4-0 victory over 1.FC Koln. It was the first win of 2022 for the Bavarian giants, who looked in imperious touch after a shocking 2-1 defeat to Borussia Monchengladbach last week.

With a majority of their key players back from quarantine, Bayern Munich showed their usual quality and dominance right from the beginning. They kept up the pressure on the Koln defence, creating multiple goalscoring opportunities and even finding the opener inside the first ten minutes through none other than Robert Lewandowski.

The Polish international was one of the stars of the game, along with his strike partner Thomas Muller. However, it was Corentin Tolisso’s lethal strike that led to Bayern’s second goal in the 25th minute. In response, Koln were able to conjure up a few scoring opportunities, even finding the back of the net through Mark Uth. But his goal was swiftly disallowed by VAR due to offside.

While Bayern looked dominant, their defence seemed shaky when dealing with the opposition counter. To their fortune, the Billy Goats weren’t able to make full use of their limited chances, allowing Lewandowski to punish them around the hour mark with a neat finish before the Pole eventually completed his hat-trick in the 74th minute.

Here at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the Bayern Munich players in their comprehensive 4-0 win over 1.FC Koln this weekend.

Manuel Neuer: 7.5/10

Manuel Neuer had to remain alert as Koln tried to cause problems on the counter. Although the hosts could only muster up three shots on target in the end, the Bayern goalkeeper was forced into a couple of excellent saves, including one to deny Dejan Ljubicic’s driving effort in the second half. A well-earned clean sheet for the returning captain.

Joshua Kimmich: 7.5/10

Starting at right-back, Joshua Kimmich produced a much-improved display against Koln. He looked much sharper in possession while creating multiple turnovers. His movement going forward was faultless, with the midfielder notably creating a few chances from set-pieces. He should be much more influential once he gets shifted to his preferred midfield role.

Benjamin Pavard: 7/10

After an underwhelming performance against Gladbach, Benjamin Pavard produced an improved defensive display on Saturday. He read the game well to stay on top of the opposition attackers while making a couple of useful runs into the Koln half. He remains a threat from half-volleys outside the penalty area.

Niklas Sule: 7.5/10

Barring an instance where he left Anthony Modeste to grab a free header inside the box, Niklas Sule had a good game. The centre-back showcased his pace and game sense to keep Modeste quiet for a large portion of the game. The former TSG Hoffenheim starlet continues to make a strong case for himself and might be a hot prospect in the market next summer.

Marcel Sabitzer: 6/10

Marcel Sabitzer was one of the few Bayern Munich players that struggled to perform against Koln. Operating at left-back, he was rather slow in the build-up, often having to move the ball towards his right foot before delivering forward balls or crosses into the box. The midfielder will be hoping to occupy a more familiar role in the next game.

Marc Roca: 7.5/10

Marc Roca offered stability and composure in the middle of the park, doing extremely well in the absence of the injured Leon Goretzka and Kimmich, who was forced to play in defence. Aside from controlling the game with his crisp passing, the Spaniard even became a threat from his set-piece deliveries later on in the proceedings.

Corentin Tolisso: 8/10

Corentin Tolisso was arguably the pick of the Bayern Munich midfielders, especially in the first half. It was he who created the turnover that led to Lewandowski’s opener before the Frenchman went on to produce a blistering effort on target to score the second. An impressive display from the ex-Lyon starlet, who is likely to leave the club either in January or at the end of the season.

Serge Gnabry: 6.5/10

Serge Gnabry could not make a proper impact on the proceedings. His ability to carry the ball in between the lines was useful for the visiting side, but the winger couldn’t really produce any proper end product in the final third. He will be hoping for a bit more impact in the next game.

Thomas Muller: 9/10

Thomas Muller would have easily been the best performer of the game had it not been for a certain Lewandowski. Indeed, the Ramdeuter showcased his positional intelligence once again by getting into the right areas and bagging two assists. He has now registered 16 assists in the league, just five shy of the all-time Bundesliga season record of 21, also set by Muller himself.

Jamal Musiala: 7/10

Jamal Musiala was asked to operate in a wide role in light of Tolisso’s return to the starting eleven. The youngster made an impression with his ability to take on the opposition defenders out wide, but he was perhaps not as influential as some other players in the team. He was subbed off around the hour mark.

Robert Lewandowski: 10/10

Robert Lewandowski’s majestic form in the Bundesliga continues as the forward showed incredible efficiency in front of goal. If an early opener wasn’t enough, the Pole made an impression by scoring a quick-fire brace in the second half that helped Bayern secure the three points, especially at a time when Koln were threatening to get back into the game.

Lewandowski’s hat-trick means the former Dortmund starlet has scored 300 goals in the Bundesliga. He is the first non-German and only the second player to achieve this tally, behind footballing legend Gerd Muller, who sits at the top with 365 goals.

Substitutes

Leroy Sane: 8.5/10

Leroy Sane came on for Musiala around the hour mark and immediately changed the complexion of the game. He registered the assist for Lewandowski’s second goal two minutes after coming on, before supplying a second assist twelve minutes later. Sane’s return has been the biggest boost for Bayern Munich this week, and his presence in the team will be critical in helping the Bavarians secure the title.

Tanguy Nianzou: N/A

A late replacement for Tolisso. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

Omar Richards: N/A

A late replacement for Sabitzer. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

Paul Wanner: N/A

A late replacement for Roca. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

Malik Tillman: N/A

A late replacement for Muller. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

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