Bayern Munich defender Daniel van Buyten (back) and FC Cologne striker Lukas Podolski challenge for the ball during their German Bundesliga match in Munich on Friday. Bayern won 3-0 to go six points clear at the top.
Ten-man Bayern Munich opened a six-point advantage at the top of the German Bundesliga on Friday, a 3-0 win over FC Cologne ensuring it will go into the winter break as the leader.
Franck Ribery was sent off in the first half but Bundesliga top scorer Mario Gomez notched his 16th league goal of the season to put the hosts in front after 48 minutes.
Substitute David Alaba made it 2-0 from close range and Toni Kroos grabbed the third goal two minutes from time with a delicate chip from 10 meters.
Bayern has 37 points from 17 games. Borussia Dortmund, the champion, is next on 31 and was at bottom club SC Freiburg yesterday.
"Cologne were mixing concrete at the back today and played extremely defensively," Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes told reporters.
"After Franck's dismissal it was even harder for us but the team reacted very well, kept a tight defense and went forward to score the goals. We dominated the game even with 10, that was class."
Ribery, who was ordered to pay his former agent 2.66 million euros (US$3.46 million) in unpaid commission earlier on Friday, was sent off in the 33rd minute after receiving two quick-fire bookings.
The France forward went down in the penalty box and lost his temper with Henrique Sereno, pushing his opponent's head after the Portuguese told him to get up.
Sereno continued to talk to Ribery who then grabbed him by the throat and was given a second yellow card.
Bayern, which failed to win its previous five home games against Cologne, went in front when Gomez tapped the ball in following a defensive error by visiting captain Pedro Geromel.
With Cologne failing to make the extra man count, Austria international Alaba fired in at the far post after a corner sailed past the entire defense. Kroos made sure of the win by lifting the ball over 'keeper Michael Rensing.
"You noticed it was our third game in six days," Cologne coach Stale Solbakken said, alluding to his team's lethargic display.
Cologne played on Tuesday, a 1-1 draw with Mainz, in a rescheduled game following a referee's suicide attempt, three days after routing Freiburg 4-0.
The winter break starts tomorrow and ends on January 20.