Bayern Munich will evaluate Leroy Sane's recovery from a serious knee injury before deciding whether to make another move for him, according to club president Uli Hoeness.

Manchester City star Sane was heavily linked with a switch to Bayern in pre-season, with coach Niko Kovac going as far as saying he was "very confident" the winger would join.

Anterior cruciate ligament damage suffered in the Community Shield clash with Liverpool in August ruled the Germany international out for up to seven months and scuppered the Bavarians' hopes of signing him.

But Bayern are not necessarily giving up on the 23-year-old, though any potential deal in 2020 will depend on his rehabilitation.

"We were very interested in him," Hoeness, who will leave his role as Bayern president in November, told Sports Illustrated. "We talked to him, but after his terrible injury we could not continue them [discussions].

"We have to wait and see how his recovery is going, and in January, February they [Bayern's recruitment staff and board] will sit down and think about what's going on."

Coach Kovac came in for significant criticism at times last season and looked in danger of being dismissed before eventually guiding Bayern to Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal success, making the most of Borussia Dortmund's underwhelming second half of the campaign.

Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge did little to help Kovac's situation, saying there was "no guarantee" he would keep his job in April, but Hoeness regularly backed the Croatian and remains a firm believer in him.

"I never understood why he [Kovac] was so harshly criticised in his first season," Hoeness added.

"He's a young coach, he had little experience in the Champions League, but he has won two titles, despite having to build a new team, and it was clear [Arjen] Robben and [Franck] Ribery would leave.

"It was a difficult situation with the old guys and the kids wanting to play. That he still won two titles is incredible. That's why I have to congratulate him on his first season."

Niko Kovac says Leon Goretzka will not recover from a thigh injury in time to play against Tottenham in the Champions League next week.

The Bayern Munich midfielder had surgery earlier this month after he aggravated an existing issue while on Germany duty.

Bayern initially gave no timescale for Goretzka's recovery but Kovac does not expect his return to be imminent, though there is better news on left-back David Alaba.

"David Alaba has trained today, it looks good," Kovac told reporters ahead of Saturday's Bundesliga trip to bottom side Paderborn.

"Let's see how it develops tomorrow [Friday] with him. Leon Goretzka still takes a bit longer.

"I expect [he will return] only after the international break."

Jann-Fiete Arp is yet to make his Bundesliga debut for Bayern after joining from Hamburg and the striker's wait will continue after he broke a bone in his hand during training.

"We will have to wait on what the doctors say before we can determine when he will return to full training again," Kovac added of the 19-year-old.

"It is difficult. You have to be careful that the bone grows together again. Shocks and jolts could complicate things, so we need to see what the doctors say so we know when to train again.

"Fiete has gotten the time from us and will continue to get it. We try to make him better every day in training, but you cannot expect too much from him.

"He may have been hyped up a bit too much at a young age, you have to be patient with him."

Marco Reus' captaincy of Borussia Dortmund is not an issue of concern for chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke.

Reus' role as Dortmund's on-field leader has come under renewed scrutiny after Lucien Favre's side twice threw away the lead to draw 2-2 at Eintracht Frankfurt last weekend.

In the aftermath of the contest at the Commerzbank Arena, Reus gave an interview to Sky Deutschland and snapped: "Don't come to me with your s*** about mentality.

"Every week it's the same c**p."

Briefly addressing the issue in quotes reported by Kicker, Watzke maintained the Germany forward's status was not up for debate.

"The discussion about captaincy for Marco Reus leads nobody in Dortmund," he said.

Watzke's backing came after Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc told Bild on Tuesday: "Marco Reus is, of course, our team captain.

"In this situation, like the other experiences players in the team, he has to show leadership and I'm sure he will."

Sunday's result saw Dortmund miss out on the chance to climb above Bayern Munich into second behind early Bundesliga leaders RB Leipzig.

Favre's men host Werder Bremen at Signal Iduna Park on Saturday, where Reus will look to add to a haul of three goals in five top-flight appearances this term.

FIFA medical committee chairman Michel D'Hooghe confirmed the governing body is awaiting a decision on the proposed changes to the concussion rule, including the introduction of a temporary substitute.

FIFPro has led calls for change to the current three-minute assessment and treatment of head injuries after high-profile incidents since the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

The issue of concussion and head injuries dominated headlines last season – a sickening incident involving Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen in the Champions League semi-finals of particular concern.

Vertonghen required extensive treatment after colliding with the back of Spurs team-mate Toby Alderweireld's head in the first half of a first-leg loss to Ajax in London, where he was initially cleared to return as per the current concussion protocol.

The 32-year-old, however, had to be helped from the field moments later in worrying scenes on the sidelines. While he was cleared of concussion following days of assessment, Vertonghen had been advised to undertake a "brief period of rehabilitation" before returning to training.

It was one of many head-related incidents in 2018-19 amid calls for the introduction of an independent doctor as well as demands for 'temporary concussion substitutions'. Switzerland defender Fabian Schar, Napoli goalkeeper David Ospina, Lyon keeper Anthony Lopes and United Arab Emirates' Fares Juma Al Saadi were cleared to return under the current guidelines.

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) is now set to decide on changes following talks with FIFA, with the main proposal to increase the current three-minute assessment window for a suspected concussion to a mandatory 10-minute test.

"It's an actual problem," D'Hooghe told Omnisport about concussions and head injuries. "In my medical business, it's the number one problem.

"I had a meeting 14 days ago in Zurich with the members of FIFA's medical committee and also with people from the diverse federations. We came to conclusions that have to be confirmed by the FIFA Council and by the IFAB. 

"We think the doctor must be on the top level like players. That means we will introduce a new chapter in the FIFA medical diploma and we propose that each doctor on the bench in an international match would have proved to have followed this chapter of the medical diploma, so we don't have a doctor who isn't completely aware of the medical situations on the bench.

"Secondly, we introduced the team doctor can be approached not only by the second medical person but a neutral doctor, who has also the repetitive view of the incident, so he can also inform the team doctor and fourth official by saying for instance 'I've seen this player has been unconscious'. That is the second new rule. If a player has been unconscious, even for a short moment, then we want absolutely that he leaves the field.

"Then there's the last point. We have received proposals from FIFPro and some associations, asking why don't you let the doctor do the famous necessary 10 minutes for the SCAT5 examination, and why don't you allow a temporary substitute during this 10 minutes?

"First of all, I can tell you one of the mistakes is that people think this 10 minutes would replace the three minutes. That's absolutely not true. The three minutes aren't there to do a complete examination but just to ask if they player can continue or not. Not more than that.

"That last proposal can have consequences for the refereeing and the rules of the game. That's why our medical committee before deciding asks advice to the IFAB about what they think about the proposal before coming to conclusions that we could eventually take into our next medical commission of FIFA."

FIFA has previously had concerns about managers abusing the temporary substitute rule but D'Hooghe added: "I think that since we leave the decision essentially and exclusively to the team doctor, that in fact the manager has no more role in that.

"Of course I'm not naive, I can think that he will put the team doctor under pressure. But that is why the team doctor, if he has any hesitation, can call the neutral doctor who has the direct images to give his advice also. But for me, the responsibility must always remain in the hands of the team doctor because he knows the player better than anyone."

Reports suggest the proposed changes could be implemented next season but D'Hooghe said: "I think we have to wait for the next meeting of the medical committee to receive the answers. So that means that the first decisions could follow in March 2020."

Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness has backtracked over comments he made suggesting the club's players could boycott playing for Germany.

Speaking after Bayern's Champions League Group B game against Red Star Belgrade last week, Hoeness talked about the debate over who should start in goal for Joachim Low's side.

Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen has opened up about his frustration at being unable to dislodge Bayern's Manuel Neuer, who was in between the sticks for Germany's World Cup triumph in 2014.

Hoeness criticised Ter Stegen for his comments and claimed the media are coordinating a campaign against Neuer, insisting Bayern would not let their players "be damaged without reason".

He added the Bundesliga champions could "no longer send players to the national team anymore" over the issue, but Hoeness has now retracted the comments.

"Mr Hoeness held discussions about the position of the number one in the national team that, with hindsight, he would not hold today," said a statement released by Hoeness' office to German magazine Der Spiegel. 

"The subject has long been closed for him, and he will not comment on it anymore."

In March, Low announced experienced Bayern trio Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng and Thomas Muller would no longer be considered for selection.

Centre-back Hummels has since rejoined his former club Borussia Dortmund.

Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne is the standout player for the first FIFA 20 Ultimate Team Team of the Week since the new game's full release.

While Bernardo Silva got a hat-trick in City's 8-0 demolition of Watford on Saturday, De Bruyne was still the best player on the pitch.

The Belgian got the eighth goal, a pair of assists and generally ran the show, as City swept their visitors aside with remarkable ease.

Leicester City midfielder James Maddison and Liverpool full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold are the other Premier League representatives in the starting XI, while the latter's former Reds team-mate Philippe Coutinho is also included after getting a goal and an assist in Bayern Munich's 4-0 win over Cologne.

Find out the full squad of 23 below.

FUT Team of the Week

GK: Benjamin Lecomte (Monaco) – 84

RB: Trent Alexander Arnold (Liverpool) – 85

CB: Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain) – 88

CB: Willi Orban (RB Leipzig) – 84

LB: Aleksandar Kolarov (Roma) – 84

CDM: Marcelo Brozovic (Inter) – 84

CM: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) – 92

CM: James Maddison (Leicester City) – 82

CAM: Philippe Coutinho (Bayern Munich) – 87

ST: Willian Jose (Real Sociedad) – 84

LW: Youcef Atal (Nice) – 81

SUBSTITUTES

GK: Ruben Blanco (Celta Vigo) – 81

LB: Aaron Cresswell (West Ham) – 81

CM: Nikola Vlasic (CSKA Moscow) – 81

LM: Carlos Eduardo (Al Hilal) – 81

LM: Amine Harit (Schalke) – 81

ST: Marcus Thuram (Borussia Monchengladbach) – 81

LW: Francesco Caputo (Sassuolo) – 81

RESERVES

CB: Chey Dunkley (Wigan Athletic) – 78

LM: Tarique Fosu (Burton Albion) – 76

LW: Casimir Ninga (Angers) – 79

ST: Ismael Sosa (Leon) – 79

ST: Erik Exposito (Slask Wroclaw) – 75

Uli Hoeness has threatened to block Bayern Munich players from representing Germany if Manuel Neuer loses his national team place to Marc-Andre ter Stegen.   Bayern president Hoeness weighed into Die Mannschaft's goalkeeper debate last week when he hit out at the German Football Association for their perceived failure to show adequate support to Neuer, captain of club and country.   Neuer's chief positional rival in the Germany setup, Barcelona star Ter Stegen, had prompted a public exchange of views when he expressed frustration with a lack of international opportunities.   Hoeness criticised the 27-year-old for his comments and, accusing the media of a coordinating a campaign against Neuer, insisted Bayern would not let their players "be damaged without reason".   That could extend to extreme measures if Joachim Low moves to drop 2014 World Cup winner Neuer.   "Before that happens, we will no longer send players to the national team anymore," Hoeness told Sport Bild.   Asked whether he would seek talks with head coach Low, Hoeness replied: "He'll hear what we've said before and his ears will ring."

Refusing to allow members of their squad to represent Germany would leave Bayern open to sanctions.

Under FIFA regulations, clubs are obliged to release players to national teams during international windows and major tournaments.

Neuer, 33, has captained Germany since September 2016.

The Schalke product missed much of the 2017-18 season through injury, enabling Ter Stegen to deputise, but returned in time for the World Cup in Russia and has started each of Germany's six matches in 2019.

After requesting a move away from Paris Saint-Germain, who would have thought Neymar could be in line to sign a contract extension?

Neymar was determined to return to LaLiga champions Barcelona but a deal did not materialise prior to the transfer window closing.

Now, Neymar's long-term future could be in Paris…

 

TOP STORY – PSG HOPEFUL OF EXTENDING NEYMAR CONTRACT

Paris Saint-Germain are hopeful of signing superstar Neymar to a new contract, reports Le10Sport.

LaLiga champions Barcelona were in talks to re-sign Neymar from PSG after the Brazilian's world-record €222million transfer in 2017, however, an agreement could not be reached.

Neymar, though, has reportedly held talks with PSG over extending his contract in the French capital.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Sun says Manchester United will target Juventus veteran Mario Mandzukic in January. The 33-year-old Croatian was linked with a move to Old Trafford before the window shut. But with United facing a crisis following injuries to Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial after Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez's exits, the Red Devils are believed to be weighing up Mandzukic.

AC Milan turned down the chance to sign Chelsea sensation Tammy Abraham, according to Tuttomercatoweb. The 21-year-old has already scored seven Premier League goals this season. However, Milan reportedly pulled the plug on the deal due to his apparent inexperience at the top level.

United and Juventus are reportedly scouting Brescia midfielder Sandro Tonali. According to Gazzetta dello Sport, a United scout was in attendance for Tuesday's Serie A clash between Brescia and Juve. Bundesliga outfit Borussia Dortmund are also reportedly eyeing the 19-year-old.

Napoli are in talks with centre-back Nikola Maksimovic over a new long-term contract, reports Corriere dello Sport.

- Sky Sports claims Atletico Madrid are tracking Boca Juniors sensation Agustin Almendra. LaLiga rivals Sevilla and Valencia have also reportedly inquired about the 19-year-old.

Daniel Van Buyten believes Borussia Dortmund still must prove they can stay the course in a potential Bundesliga title race, despite strengthening their squad.

After a busy close season that included the return of Mats Hummels from Bayern Munich, Dortmund are tipped to push the reigning champions all the way in the 2019-20 season.

Thorgan Hazard, Julian Brandt and Nico Schulz have also arrived to bolster Lucien Favre's options, with Van Buyten impressed by the way they performed in the 0-0 Champions League draw against Barcelona last week.

However, while he expects them to challenge Bayern once again after finishing second in the previous campaign, the Belgian needs to see if BVB have the depth required to cope when their resources are stretched.

"Borussia Dortmund made very good transfers and they are a good team on the pitch," Van Buyten told Omnisport.

"They will definitely be a team that will fight for the championship in the Bundesliga until the end. But there are still one or two other teams that will also play for the title.

"Against Barcelona they [Dortmund] have also shown in the Champions League that they can play good games there – but they have to show that in Barcelona as well.

"As I said, things are looking good at the moment, but you have to see how things go from there.

"If there are injuries or illnesses, then you have to show that the squad is there and that the other players can also be successful."

Bayern strengthened their squad by signing Philippe Coutinho on a season-long loan from Barcelona – and the Brazilian scored his first goal in Saturday's 4-0 triumph over Cologne.

Van Buyten, though, has warned his old club not to expect too much from Coutinho, with any success in the Champions League down to teamwork, rather than relying on individual talent.

"For me, it is always a work of the whole team. You have top players like [Robert] Lewandowski and many others, but you can't think that if you hire a player like Coutinho, he has this magic wand to do something special," he said.

"I think it's teamwork and you have to get a top performance every time. No matter which team you have to play on the weekend, it's always the same process. If you ever think that it's easy, it's a negative process.

"It's about your mentality and from my time back then, I know very well that we had a lot of players as far as the character was concerned, they were very concentrated and really had the focus in their heads to win the championship, and also to go far in the Champions League.

"They're all top teams [in the Champions League] and it's not easy to make your way there. Bayern already needs a team at the top level."

Liverpool duo Alisson and Virgil van Dijk lined up alongside familiar faces Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the FIFA FIFPro Men's World11 for 2019.

Messi and Ronaldo were voted in by their fellow professionals for a 13th straight year, maintaining their ever-present records since 2007.

Goalkeeper Alisson and centre-back Van Dijk have been rewarded after helping the Reds to Champions League glory earlier this year, although they missed out on the Premier League title to domestic treble-winners Manchester City - who were not represented in the XI.

Real Madrid have the most players with four, albeit Eden Hazard only moved to the Spanish capital in the close season from Chelsea after winning the Europa League in his final game for the English club.

Madrid stalwarts Sergio Ramos and Marcelo were chosen to join Van Dijk and another Dutchman in Matthijs de Ligt at the back, while Luka Modric - winner of The Best FIFA Men's Player award in 2018 – kept a place in midfield.

Messi, who scooped the individual honour this year ahead of Van Dijk and Ronaldo, was joined by new Barca team-mate Frenkie de Jong, while Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe completed the forward line.

FIFA Men's Best XI: Alisson (Liverpool); De Ligt (Juventus), Van Dijk (Liverpool), Ramos (Real Madrid), Marcelo (Real Madrid); Modric (Real Madrid), De Jong (Barcelona), Hazard (Real Madrid); Ronaldo (Juventus), Messi (Barcelona), Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)

The relentless brilliance of Robert Lewandowski could see Bayern Munich enjoy a very successful season, according to former striker Luca Toni.

A double in the 4-0 Bundesliga win over Cologne on Saturday took Lewandowski to nine goals in just five league appearances in 2019-20.

The 31-year-old, who signed a new contract through to 2023 in August, had reached 200 in all competitions for Bayern when he struck in the 3-0 Champions League win over Red Star Belgrade last week.

Lewandowski's future had been unclear prior to the announcement of his new deal, but Toni now hopes to see the Poland star bring trophies to the Allianz Arena this season.

"He is one of the best. I like him so much because he lives in the box and scores a lot of goals," Toni told Omnisport.

"Let's say this: it's really hard to criticise Lewandowski. He is a great player. Sometimes, it happens that he does not score.

"Team success basically comes through strikers' goals. Here we have a strong striker like Lewandowski and I am pretty sure he can lead Bayern to success."

Lewandowski's form has helped Bayern to three wins and two draws from their first five league games of the season, putting them two points behind early pace-setters RB Leipzig.

There are five teams on 10 points, including Borussia Dortmund, leading Toni to hope for stronger competition this term as Bayern go in search of an eighth title in a row.

"The Bundesliga has to be a challenging league," said Toni, who won the domestic double with Bayern in 2008. "In Italy, Juventus won the Scudetto last year with lots of games to go, and this often happens in Germany with Bayern.

"I hope for all the Bundesliga and the whole football movement for a very interesting league where three or more teams, maybe an underdog as well, are able to take results against the big teams."

Similarly, Toni is hoping for a stronger title fight in Serie A this season, with Antonio Conte's Inter and Carlo Ancelotti's Napoli tipped to challenge Juventus' dominance of the top flight.

"Juventus are the strongest," Toni admitted. "They have basically two teams made of 22 champions. It will be hard [for other teams] but Inter improved the squad in the market and Napoli completed their squad. 

"It would be great for Italian football if those teams could fight for the Scudetto. They are the best: Inter, Napoli and Juventus."

Ernesto Valverde is facing a big week at Barcelona.

Valverde is under pressure early in the season after Barca slumped to a 2-0 loss at Granada to be left with just seven points from their opening five games of the LaLiga season.

Now, the next week is shaping as crucial for Valverde.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA PLAYERS LOSING CONFIDENCE IN VALVERDE

Several Barcelona players have started to lose confidence in Valverde, according to ESPN.

With seven points from five league games, Barcelona have made their worst start to a season since 1994-95.

Monday's cover of Sport says Valverde needs an urgent reaction, with his side hosting Villarreal on Tuesday and visiting Getafe four days later.

 

ROUND-UP

Barcelona are keeping an eye on Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz. Barca's sporting director Eric Abidal was present as Fabian scored in Napoli's 4-1 win over Lecce on Saturday, according to Calciomercato.

AC Milan want to strengthen at right-back and are considering Tottenham defender Serge Aurier, according to Sportmediaset, amid suggestions Andrea Conti is struggling to impress.

Jose Mourinho has had chances to return to management and the former Real Madrid and Manchester United boss apparently turned down a surprise opportunity last year. Fichajes reports Boca Juniors tried to convince Mourinho to take over, but the Portuguese tactician said he was not yet ready to leave Europe.

Everton have made a slow start to the Premier League season and are assessing ways to strengthen their attack. The Daily Express reports they are interested in signing Yussuf Poulsen from RB Leipzig. The Denmark international scored 15 Bundesliga goals last season.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is at the wheel but for how long?

After a blistering start to life at Manchester United, initially as interim manager, the Red Devils have struggled to convince.

United have won two of their opening five games ahead of Sunday's trip to West Ham and Paris could be the location of a possible replacement…

 

TOP STORY – UNITED AND BARCA BATTLE FOR TUCHEL

Manchester United have sounded out Paris Saint-Germain head coach Thomas Tuchel, according to Le10 Sport.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer signed a permanent three-year deal after initially replacing Jose Mourinho in December, but the Red Devils have been far from convincing following a brief upturn in results.

United have reportedly informed Tuchel of their interest, though LaLiga champions Barcelona are also tracking the German as pressure mounts on Ernesto Valverde after Saturday's shock loss at Granada.

 

ROUND-UP

- According to the Sunday Express, Tottenham have identified Leicester City star James Maddison as a potential replacement for soon-to-be free agent Christian Eriksen. Maddison has also been heavily linked to Manchester United.

United, meanwhile, have been told it will take £90million (€101m) to lure Germany star Kai Havertz from Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen, claims the Express. The 20-year-old is also attracting interest from Bayern Munich, Manchester City and Liverpool. As for United and their hopes of signing RB Salzburg star Erling Haaland, they could be scuppered by agent Mino Raiola. The 19-year-old made headlines with a hat-trick on his Champions League debut. However, United's relationship with Raiola could thwart their plans, writes The Sun.

- The Mirror says Arsenal are keen to re-sign PSV's Donyell Malen, who left the Gunners two years ago. It could cost Arsenal up to £50m (€56m) to bring the 20-year-old back to London. Liverpool are also believed to be interested.

- Marca reports that Real Madrid are keen to sign Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga. The 16-year-old has dazzled in Ligue 1 this season.

David Alaba should be available for Bayern Munich's next Champions League game against Tottenham, according to Niko Kovac.

The left-back tore a muscle in his left thigh before Bayern's 1-1 draw at RB Leipzig earlier in the month.

He subsequently missed the 3-0 win over Red Star Belgrade that got Bayern's Group B campaign up and running.

But after Bayern beat Cologne 4-0 in the Bundesliga on Saturday, Kovac assured that Alaba's absence will not be a long lay-off.

"David Alaba is making progress," the coach said. "We need to increase the intensity of his running each day before he can re-join team training. We hope to have him ready for Tottenham.

"I think Paderborn will be too early. That will probably also interest the Austrian national coach. He will be fully operational again by the next international break."

Bayern go to London on October 1 for what is expected to be a game that helps decide who tops their Champions League group.

But prior to that clash, Bayern eased to a 4-0 win at home to Cologne partly thanks to Robert Lewandowski's double, while Philippe Coutinho's penalty opened his account for the club.

"We performed well today, especially since we only had 72 hours of rest since Wednesday," Kovac added.

"Cologne did well, it was not always easy to find the right solution. In the second half we did a better job, we created good chances.

"4-0 sounds pretty high, but we could have scored one or two more. Seven goals this week, you can build on that."

Cologne coach Achim Beierlorzer felt the scoreline flattered the champions.

"4-0 feels extremely bitter for us," he said. "At the end of the first half we were already really good in the game and had good chances to score. Bayern struck three minutes after the kick-off, because we were not awake. The corner for 2-0 has hit us very hard.

"If you want to get something here, the gameplay has to fit. But the way we were on the road today encourages me for the next games. It's bitter that we did not score a goal today."

Robert Lewandowski's magnificent scoring form continued with a decisive brace in Bayern Munich's clinical 4-0 home win over Cologne on Saturday.

The in-form forward scored at the start of either half to set up the victory and become only the second man - after Peter Meyer - to register nine goals after five Bundesliga games.

He might have reached 10 had Philippe Coutinho not grasped the chance to open his Bayern account by converting the penalty he won just after the hour.

Kingsley Ehizibue saw red for the foul and Niko Kovac's men made their numerical advantage count, completing the rout with a fourth through Ivan Perisic.

Lewandowski struck in the third minute against RB Leipzig last weekend and did likewise here for his 10th goal of the season in all competitions.

Played in by Joshua Kimmich, the striker's finish deflected off Sebastiaan Bornauw's outstretched boot and bounced over Timo Horn.

Coutinho initiated the opener with a cute flick and soon curled a free-kick into the near post.

Cologne started to ask questions through Jhon Cordoba before Lewandowski found the top of the net from an awkward angle in first-half added time.

He made no mistake after the interval, rising high to nod in Kimmich's corner in the 48th minute.

There was more misery for Cologne on the hour as right-back Ehizibue bundled Coutinho to the floor in the box and was shown a straight red card.

The Brazilian dusted himself off and coolly converted twice, his first successful effort chalked off due to encroachment.

Kimmich then guided a curling effort against the upright but Bayern were not to be denied a fourth as winger Perisic fired across Horn in the 73rd minute.

There was time left for Manuel Neuer to make his own impressive contribution to the victory, the goalkeeper underlining his status as Germany's first choice when he parried Rafael Czichos' strike in the closing moments.

 

What does it mean? Bayern delivering on Kovac belief

Kovac described the 1-1 draw at Leipzig as Bayern's "best performance" of the season and it appears his team is ready to produce more such showings.

While this was not a perfect display, it maintained the momentum of the midweek Champions League victory over Red Star Belgrade and bore hallmarks of a side that is starting to gel nicely.

Coutinho oozes class in favoured role

Granted the chance to pull the strings from his preferred position behind the striker, Coutinho did not disappoint.

Coutinho, on loan from Barcelona, was involved in Bayern's best three attacking moments of the first half and was fully deserving of his first goal for the club.

Ehizibue takes an early bath

Denial of an obvious goalscoring opportunity left referee Patrick Ittrich with no choice but to dismiss Cologne defender Ehizibue.

The 24-year-old could have avoided such a sanction had he attempted a challenge with his feet, but can be forgiven for wanting an early escape after completing just over half his 19 passes on what was a difficult day.

What's next?

Bayern travel to bottom-placed Paderborn, another newly promoted side, next Saturday.

Cologne have an extra day to prepare for a home date with Hertha Berlin.

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