Bayern underlines title credentials routing Cologne 5-1

·3 min read

BERLIN — Bundesliga top scorer Robert Lewandowski bagged another two goals as Bayern Munich routed Cologne 5-1 to end its two-game winless streak and consolidate its league lead on Saturday.

Lewandowski took his season tally to 28 as Bayern moved five points clear of Leipzig, which hosted Borussia Mönchengladbach in the late game.

Leon Goretzka, making his first league start since recovering from the coronavirus, lifted a cross for Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting to open the scoring in the 18th minute, then brilliantly set up Lewandowski in the 34th.

Goretzka received the ball from Lewandowski, turned and played the ball through Cologne defender Rafael Czichos’ legs, and sent it to the right for Lewandowski to finish.

Defensive errors from David Alaba and Jérôme Boateng allowed Ellyes Skhiri to pull one back after the break as Cologne enjoyed an encouraging phase.

Bayern coach Hansi Glick sent on Thomas Müller and Serge Gnabry in the 64th. The former was making his comeback from a coronavirus infection and he needed less than a minute to set up Lewandowski's second goal.

Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer almost gifted Cologne a way back when he lost the ball to Dominick Drexler, but the midfielder’s effort from a difficult angle went back off the post.

Gnabry sealed the result in the 82nd and wrapped up the scoring in the 86th.

SCHALKE SHAMBLES

Schalke sporting director Jochen Schneider had to deny reports of mutiny within the squad before the struggling team lost in Stuttgart 5-1. Kicker and other media outlets reported several players asked for Christian Gross, already Schalke’s fourth coach of the season, to be replaced.

The team’s performance seemed to confirm the reports.

Japan midfielder Wataru Endo was left completely free to score his first two goals in the league, before more lacklustre defending allowed Saša Kalajdžic to score in the 34th.

Sead Kolašinac answered for Schalke in the 40th, but substitute Nabil Bentaleb saw his weak penalty saved and Endo set up Philipp Klement for Stuttgart’s fourth in the 88th. Daniel Didavi completed the rout in injury time.

“A very bitter defeat,” said Gross, whose team remains last, nine points from safety with 11 rounds remaining. “I'm not giving up.”

DORTMUND’S REVIVAL

Borussia Dortmund beat Arminia Bielefeld 3-0, and Hertha Berlin’s winless streak stretched to nine games after losing at Wolfsburg 2-0.

Brazilian midfielder Reinier scored his first Bundesliga goal since his loan switch from Real Madrid to seal Dortmund’s third win across all competitions including last weekend’s 4-0 win over Schalke in the Ruhr derby.

“We’re not there yet where we want to be,” Mats Hummels said.

Dortmund had to wait till the 48th for Jadon Sancho to set up Mahmoud Dahoud for the opener, and 10 minutes later Sancho converted a penalty. Sancho was again involved before Erling Haaland graciously set up Reinier’s goal in the 81st.

Dortmund cut the gap on fourth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt to three points. The top four qualify for the Champions League.

Bielefeld’s defeat was good news for Hertha, which lost despite a good performance in Wolfsburg. Pál Dárdai’s team has seven defeats and two draws since beating Schalke 3-0, and only goal difference is keeping Hertha above Bielefeld in the relegation zone.

___

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

___

Ciarán Fahey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfaheyAP

CiaráN Fahey, The Associated Press