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Bundesliga Preview: Bayern v Cologne

Paderborn coach Andre Breitenreiter lauded the German champions as "the best team in the world" after his side were on the end of a 6-0 home defeat to Pep Guardiola's men last weekend.

Ruthless Bayern - eight points clear of second-placed Wolfsburg - had consigned Hamburg to a humiliating 8-0 thrashing in their previous league match and should have too much firepower for a Cologne side who are without a win in four matches and in danger of being relegated.

Striker Lewandowski responded to being dropped to the bench in the UEFA Champions League stalemate at Shakhtar Donetsk by netting twice at Paderborn and the Poland striker has stressed the importance of free-scoring Bayern maintaining their ominous form. 

He told the club's official website: "It’s our mentality. We always want lots of goals, regardless of the score at the time. We always want more. And an eight-point lead over Wolfsburg isn't that much.

"VfL [Wolfsburg] are playing very well, so we have to be on our guard until the end of the season. Regardless of our lead in the table, we always have to concentrate."

Wolfsburg face a difficult trip to Werder Bremen for a clash between two in-form sides on Sunday, so Bayern could be in an even stronger position at the summit after this weekend.

Cologne drew 1-1 at home to Hannover last weekend and it would be a major surprise if they beat a Bayern side who have not suffered defeat at the Allianz Arena since April 2014.

Peter Stoger's side lost 2-0 at home to the Bavarian giants back in September, but, despite residing down in 13th in the table, only Bayern have claimed more wins on the road than their tally of five.

Midfielder Yannick Gerhardt is the only player unavailable to Stoger, as he is still suffering from an infection.

Guardiola will check on the fitness of defender Mehdi Benatia (thigh), but Philipp Lahm (ankle) is still ruled out along with knee injury victims Thiago Alcantara and Javi Martinez.

There was positive news of midfielder Thiago this week, who trained with the ball at his feet on Tuesday for the first time since October as Lahm also stepped up his recovery.