RB Leipzig dropped two points the night earlier and Bayern Munich responded appropriately with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Cologne to increase their lead at the Bundesliga summit to seven points.
As usual, Bayern dominated the pitch in every area. Even though Cologne desperately needed the win to challenge for a spot in European football, they were simply powerless as Bayern dictated the tempo.
Javi Martinez opened the scoring in the 25th minute with his first goal of the season with a lovely shot from range. The game slowed down as Cologne failed to penetrate Bayern and in the second half, Juan Bernat secured the three points with the second goal of the game off a deflection at close-range.
The contest was virtually over at that stage but substitute Franck Ribery refused to leave the pitch without a flourish as he slammed home his own goal in the dying minutes of the game.
It was a disappointing night for Cologne, having their first loss at home this season, but both teams are looking to the future to secure their spot in the upper half of the Bundesliga table.
Bayern brimming with confidence
Since their 5-1 dismantling of Arsenal, Bayern have gained an incredible amount of confidence that they lacked earlier in the season.
With dominant victories in the past few weeks, 8-0 vs Hamburg, 3-0 vs Schalke and 3-0 vs Cologne, they are truly hitting their stride as they enter the second leg of their Champions League tie with the Gunners.
The Londoners should be worried. Even with a 5-1 lead, Bayern are likely to give their opponents a hard time just as they did in the first leg.
The Bavarians do not look like slowing down anytime soon and, with another strong result against Arsenal, they will become a force to be reckoned with in future Champions League matches.
Cologne’s excellent home record at an end
The loss against Bayern was Cologne’s first loss at home. The tumultuous club has had some rough years but it finally seems as though it has turned it around this season.
The club sits seventh which is just two points behind a spot in the Europa League. Playing in Europe next season will be a huge boost for Cologne and could be a catalyst to help them become a consistent upper-table side.
The loss against Bayern looks and feels bad for the players, but they should not let it ruin what has been an excellent season.
There are quite a few games left in the season and more than enough time for Peter Stoger’s side to climb into a European spot.
Ancelotti takes it easy
One of the astonishing takeaways from this match is Bayern’s ability to slow down a game in order to preserve their players. With an important Champions League game coming up, normally a manager would rest their top players but Ancelotti opted to play his key men and simply slowed the game down.
Of course, players like Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller performed a little worse than usual, but they were able to get some game time in while a few others carried the weight of goalscoring.
Whether this was intentional or simply a coincidence, the slow nature of the game has allowed Ancelotti to keep his squad fresh and fit for midweek duty while also ensuring victory in the league.
As the season draws to a close and the Champions League becomes more important, expect to see more games like this from Bayern.