Coutinho, Lewandowski spearhead Cologne demolition

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Robert Lewandowski and Philippe Coutinho

Philippe Coutinho’s first Bayern Munich goal and a brace from Robert Lewandowski helped the German champions go top of the Bundesliga with a 4-0 thrashing of 10-man Cologne on Saturday.

Poland star striker Lewandowski put Bayern ahead with just 150 seconds gone at the Allianz Arena after Joshua Kimmich split the Cologne defense before then doubling the hosts’ lead with a header from a corner at the start of the season half to take his league tally to nine in five games.

Coutinho, on loan from Barcelona, claimed his first Bundesliga goal on the hour by converting a penalty at the second attempt, after Lewandowski gave the Brazilian the chance despite being on a hat-trick.

“It was a spontaneous decision, we didn’t talk about it before the game,” Lewandowski said of giving Coutinho the spot-kick.

“It was important for him here at the Allianz Arena, for the future and his confidence. He is a great player and we must all help him.”

Kingsley Ehizibue had been shown a straight red card just before the penalty for bringing down Coutinho in the area when he was one-on-one with Cologne stopper Timo Horn.

Coutinho capped a superb display by setting up Ivan Perisic to compound Cologne’s misery by slotting Bayern’s fourth on 73 minutes.

Bayern are top for the first time this season after the win, one point ahead of Freiburg, Schalke, Bayer Leverkusen, and RB Leipzig, who can replace them with a win at Werder Bremen later.

Having also netted in the 3-0 Champions League win over Red Star Belgrade on Wednesday, Lewandowski has scored in each of Bayern’s last seven games with 11 goals in all competitions.

He is the first to score in the first five Bundesliga games since Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for Borussia Dortmund four years ago.

Bayer Leverkusen bounced back from their shock Champions League defeat by Lokomotiv Moscow in mid-week with a 2-0 win over Union Berlin.

Kevin Volland and Lucas Alario scored inside the opening half-hour as Leverkusen responded after the director of sport Rudi Voeller had accused them of being “scared” against Lokomotiv.

Second-placed Freiburg wasted the chance to claim the top spot as forward Lucas Hoeler gave them the lead only for striker Florian Niederlechner to equalize for Augsburg in a 1-1 draw.

Hertha Berlin climbed off the foot of the table with a nervy 2-1 home win over Paderborn, who took their place at the bottom of the league.

Ex-Manchester City winger Javairo Dilrosun weaved past a string of defenders to slot home on 10 minutes before ex-Dortmund forward Marius Wolf netted in the second half at the Olympic Stadium.

Striker Ben Zolinski pulled a goal back for Paderborn, who pushed hard for a late equalizer without success.