FRANKFURT: Bayern Munich scored three goals in a devastating opening 12 minutes as they won 4-1 at Koln to reclaim the Bundesliga leadership.
Robert Lewandowski maintained his average of over a goal a game this season as he put the German champions ahead in the third minute and goals from Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry left Cologne reeling.
Gnabry added a fourth in the 65th minute and Mark Uth scored a consolation for the hosts who fought back well in the second half.
Bayern, chasing an eighth successive title, have 46 points from 22 games, one ahead of RB Leipzig who had gone top with a 3-0 win over Werder Bremen on Saturday. Cologne are 14th with 23 points and have a six-point cushion over the relegation playoff spot.
In Spain . . .
Champions Barcelona struggled to beat third-placed Getafe 2-1 at home to keep up with title rivals Real Madrid.
France striker Antoine Griezmann put the Catalans ahead in the 34th minute on an assist from Lionel Messi before Sergi Roberto doubled their lead five minutes later.
Getafe pulled a goal back in the 66th with a volley from striker Angel Rodriguez who was denied equaliser only by a superb save from Barca keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Getafe coach Jose Bordalas coach: “We put in a fantastic effort and no-one should forget we are a small team and put in a great performance. It’s a shame we couldn’t get the best result,.
“They couldn’t wait for the game to end because they were taking their time in every play. Football has been unfair to us today. We played in their half for large parts of the game but we just lacked that bit of quality which the big teams have.”
In Germany . . .
RB Leipzig eased past struggling Werder Bremen 3-0 to reclaim top spot in the Bundesliga, two points ahead of champions Bayern Munich.
Having failed to win in their last four games in all competitions, Leipzig were desperate to bounce back and Lukas Klostermann’s 18th minute goal quickly put them in the driving seat.
Patrik Schick, who had set up Klostermann, then grabbed one himself, heading in his sixth league goal in the 39th minute before Nordi Mukiele latched on to a deep cross to fire in their third goal a minute after the restart.
** Four Euro 2020 contenders will compete in a mini tournament in Qatar next month as they prepare for European finals in June and July.
Holders Portugal as well as Croatia, Belgium and Switzerland will play two matches each in Doha between March 26 and 30 in the Qatar Airways International Cup.
World Cup runners-up Croatia will meet the Swiss on March 26, followed the next day by a meeting between Belgium and Portugal, where Cristiano Ronaldo will be chasing his 100th international goal.
Matches are to be played at the Aspire Academy in the Qatar capital. On March 30, Switzerland will take on Belgium followed by a clash between Croatia and Portugal.
At the Euro 2020 tournament, Switzerland are in Group A, Belgium in B, Croatia in D and Portugal in Group F.
Qatar host the next World Cup in 2020.