Cologne 1-2 Bayern Munich: Champions unspectacular but get by without Lewandowski
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Robert Lewandowski was rested on Saturday and Bayern Munich got by without him as they beat Cologne 2-1 away from home.

Thomas Muller and Serge Gnabry were decisive as Bayern Munich secured an unspectacular 2-1 win over Cologne in the absence of Robert Lewandowski on Saturday.

Talismanic striker Lewandowski, like Leon Goretzka, was afforded a rest by coach Hansi Flick and Cologne were unable to take advantage as Bayern clinched an 12th win in 13 games against the Billy Goats.

Muller opened the scoring early on with a penalty won by Gnabry, who then made it 2-0 just before the interval with a lovely effort.

Although Bayern were by no means at their rampant best and seemingly played within themselves, they just about did enough to claim the victory, Cologne pulling one back through Dominick Drexler.

Despite making an encouraging start, Cologne found themselves trailing by the 13th minute as Marius Wolf handled Gnabry's header in the box to concede a penalty, which Muller dispatched coolly.

The hosts should have levelled soon after but Ismail Jakobs shot wide of the right-hand post having wriggled into space in the left side of the area.

Bayern then doubled their lead on the stroke of half-time, with Gnabry cutting in from the right and placing a left-footed effort into the bottom-far corner as Cologne were caught on the break.

The visitors looked eager to kill the game off quickly upon the restart, with Leroy Sane and Gnabry particularly bright.

But Bayern's intensity waned, and Cologne almost pulled one back when Jakobs sent a header agonisingly past the left-hand post in the 71st minute.

Cologne did get on the scoresheet eight minutes from time. Thielmann's shot deflected off Drexler - VAR judged he was just onside - and into the net, but an equaliser was a step too far.

What does it mean? A win and a rest for Lewandowski

While his remarkable form of 10 goals in five matches suggests Lewandowski is showing no sign of slowing down, the reality is that, at 32, he is no fledgling. Giving him a rest every once in a while can only be a good thing for his longevity.

Obviously that poses a risk for Bayern given his quality, and without him Die Roten managed only six shots in total, but they got the job done and Lewandowski will be fresh for Champions League action in the week – it is a win-win.

Muller influential

There were few genuine standout performances here – it was a largely forgettable match. But Muller was at least one of the game's more consistent threats in attack, laying on a couple of key passes, a joint-high for Bayern. He also opened the scoring with the penalty as he levelled Oliver Kahn's club record of 260 Bundesliga wins.

Choupo-Moting fades into the background

Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting was the man given the nod in Lewandowski's place here, but he offered very little. He touched the ball just 18 times during his 63 minutes on the pitch and only managed to get one shot on target.

Key Opta facts

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-Bayern have won 31 of their last 32 games in all competitions, only failing to do so on the second matchday at Hoffenheim when they lost 4-1.
-Muller celebrated his 260th Bundesliga win here (in his 357th game), equalling Bayern's club record held by Kahn.
-Bayern have scored 24 goals in this Bundesliga season, a record after six matches in the competition.
-Muller has been directly involved in eight goals this season (four goals, four assists), levelling his personal record set in 2012-13 (also four goals, four assists).
-Bayern have scored in all of their last 32 games in all competitions since their 0-0 draw with RB Leipzig in February.

What's next?

Bayern return to Champions League action on Tuesday away to Salzburg, before going up against Borussia Dortmund in Der Klassiker next Saturday. Cologne face Werder Bremen on Friday.