Berlin, Nov 26: Borussia Moenchengladbach climbed to the top of the Bundesliga for the first time in 26 years after outclassing Cologne 3-0 in the league's 79th Rhine derby on Friday.
Mike Hanke scored twice for the visitors, dispatching from 11 meters (yards) past Michael Rensing in the 20th minute and finishing off a counterattack in the 47th, after Juan Arango had scored from a free kick in the 30th.
Borussia last topped the league on Nov. 1, 1985, when current Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes was in charge.
“We're not thinking about (the title),” Moenchengladbach goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen said. “We can enjoy it (but) we won't let ourselves be affected by the league position.”
Moenchengladbach's lead may only be temporary. Borussia Dortmund can go top on Saturday when the defending champion hosts Schalke in the Ruhr derby, while Bayern can reclaim the lead at Mainz on Sunday.
Injury-hit Cologne dropped to 12th ahead of the weekend's games.
Marco Reus produced a fingertip save from Rensing in the second minute, when the goalkeeper also blocked Roman Neustaedter from close range.
Moenchengladbach's lead was deserved when Hanke ran onto a loose ball to score his first goal of the season.
Ten minutes later Arango whipped a free kick from a central position over the wall and inside the right post.
Cologne fans were hoping for an improvement after the break, but Moenchengladbach launched a quick break after a Cologne corner to leave two defenders facing three attackers.
“I told the players (at half time that) we had to make it 3-0 and they did it very quickly,” Borussia coach Lucien Favre said.
Rensing saved from Havard Nordtveit, but Hanke was well-placed again to stroke the rebound inside the left post.
“You cannot be so stupid,” said Rensing, who was furious with his defense.
Lukas Podolski had a goal disallowed for offside in the 79th, by which time Cologne fans were heading for the exits.