Munich, Feb 16: Bayern Munich returned to the top of the Bundesliga as they swept aside Cologne 4-1 on the back of three goals in the opening 12 minutes.
RB Leipzig leapfrogged Bayern with a 3-0 victory over Werder Bremen on Saturday, but Hansi Flick's side responded the following day by blowing away their hosts early on.
Thomas Muller laid on goals for Robert Lewandowski and Kingsley Coman before Serge Gnabry rifled in a third from a Joshua Kimmich corner.
Gnabry added a second 24 minutes from time, with Mark Uth pulling one back for Cologne, as Bayern went back above Leipzig, who now trail the reigning champions by one point after 22 games.
Lewandowski reached 40 goals for club and country this season in the third minute, collecting a Muller pass and smashing into the roof of the net to make it 12 goals in 14 games against Cologne.
The home side were being cut open at will and Lewandowski and Muller were involved again when the latter found Coman, whose effort deflected in off Rafael Czichos to make it 2-0.
Bayern refused to let up and they had a three-goal lead when Gnabry brought down Kimmich's delivery to the far post and steered into the bottom-right corner of the net.
Only the woodwork prevented the Bavarian giants' lead from being greater at the interval as an off-balance Gnabry hit the crossbar and Timo Horn tipped Kimmich's long-range effort against the post.
Cologne might have found a way back had Jhon Cordoba not had two goals disallowed for offside inside the opening 10 minutes of the second half.
Bayern had eased off but scored a fourth in the 66th minute when Gnabry cut in off the left and curled home his second before Cologne finally got a consolation, Uth remaining onside to apply the finish to Florian Kainz's cross.
Gnabry squandered a glorious chance for his hat-trick when he fired wide after a lovely backheel from Muller, who missed out on a treble of assists in the process.
What does it mean? Bayern deliver perfect response to Leipzig win
Bayern, 29-time Bundesliga champions, are not used to playing catch up but Leipzig's win on Saturday added some extra pressure to this fixture.
Cologne were in good form too having won four top-flight home games in a row, yet Bayern's blistering start meant the result was a foregone conclusion after just a dozen minutes.
Muller's here to assist you
With another two assists, Muller reached 14 for the season, already equalling his personal best from the 2017-18 season.
The 30-year-old's contract expires at the end of next season and his recent form shows Bayern would be wise to agree fresh terms.
Katterbach caught out all too often
None of Cologne's back four came out of the early exchanges with any real credit but Noah Katterbach in particular struggled against Coman.
Katterbach's rotten afternoon was ended by injury inside the opening half an hour and it did not help that his replacement Kainz was arguably Cologne's best player.
Bayern have the chance to move four points clear of Leipzig as they next play on Friday when they host Paderborn. Cologne head to Hertha Berlin the following day.