Robert Lewandowski was hailed as a scoring “machine” after the Bayern Munich striker claimed his 300th Bundesliga goal with a hat-trick in a 4-0 drubbing of Cologne on Saturday.
The reigning champions restored their six-point advantage over Borussia Dortmund who had cut the gap with their 5-1 thumping of Freiburg on Friday.
Goals from Lewandowski and Corentin Tolisso put Bayern two up at the break, with the Pole adding two more in the second half.
It was the 66th consecutive game Bayern have found the net setting a new club and Bundesliga record, eclipsing their own 65-game streak between February 2018 and February 2020.
Lewandowski has 23 goals in 19 Bundesliga games this season, and 34 goals in total. He is on course to break his own record of 41 Bundesliga goals in a single season, which he set last May.
“After the defeat against Monchengladbach, it was important for us to get our first points this year,” captain Manuel Neuer said. “We are happy and grateful to have Robert — he is a machine up front.”
After positive Covid tests ruled nine players out of last week's home defeat against Borussia Monchengladbach, Bayern were almost back to full strength for the game at the RheinEnergieStadion
Most of the affected players were back, apart from left back Alphonso Davies, who is likely to be sidelined for weeks with heart muscle inflammation.
Manager Julian Nagelsmann described the inflammation as “mild” and “not so dramatic,” citing the results of an ultrasound examination. “Despite that, it needs to heal and that will definitely take a certain amount of time,” he said.
Lewandowski claimed the opening goal in the ninth minute picking up a pass from Thomas Muller before scoring with a fine finish — after a video review check for offside.
Tolisso doubled Bayern's lead by thumping his shot into the top corner after 25 minutes.
Mark Uth thought he had pulled a goal back for Cologne with the score at 2-0, but the striker's effort was ruled out for offside by VAR.
The score stayed at 2-0 until Leroy Sane, one of the players who missed the Gladbach loss, came on and carved holes in Cologne's defence for Lewandowski's next two goals that took the attacker to the 300 mark.
Former Manchester City player Sane's pass put Lewandowski in behind the defence for his second goal.
Eight minutes later, Sane again danced through Cologne's midfield before putting Lewandowski into position to finish clinically.
Only Bayern and West Germany legend Gerd Mueller, who died last year, scored more Bundesliga goals with 365.