Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola hails Manuel Neuer impact

Manuel Neuer Bayern Munich

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Pep Guardiola watched his Bayern Munich side defeat Cologne 4-1 on Friday night to move 11 points clear in the Bundesliga and the boss hailed the contribution of goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

The reigning champions have recovered well from their stuttering return after the winter break when they crashed to a 4-1 defeat at Wolfsburg and were then held to a 1-1 draw against Schalke.

A 2-0 win at Stuttgart was followed up by an 8-0 home mauling of Hamburg before a 6-0 rout of Paderborn going into the game against Cologne at the Allianz Arena.

Bastian Schweinsteiger gave the hosts an early lead and Franck Ribery added a second inside 10 minutes, but Cologne fought back to make it 2-1 when Anthony Ujah scored on the stroke of half-time.

The visitors, who are still looking for points to ensure they avoid relegation after one season back in the German top-flight, boast the second best away record in the division and they threatened to get back on level terms as Neuer was forced to make several excellent stops.

Bayern managed to ride the storm from Cologne and killed the game off thanks to goals from Arjen Robben and Robert Lewandowski.

It sealed a fourth straight league win and puts Bayern firmly on course to defend their title, but Guardiola felt it would have been a different story had Neuer not been on his game.

He said: “I’m happy. We’ve beaten the second-best away team in the league and scored four goals, which is very, very difficult against these opponents.

“We started well, but we lost control after a while. Once Arjen had made it 3-1 it was a completely different game again. We recovered our dominance. But we won today because Manu made two outstanding saves.”

With the title well within grasp Bayern are 1.63 to lift the German Cup this season and record another domestic double.

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