After ten-man Bayern Munich routed Cologne 3-0 in their final Bundesliga match of the year, coach Jupp Heynckes said they will be stronger in 2012 with Bastian Schweinsteiger and Arjen Robben fully fit.
Bayern had midfielder Franck Ribery sent off on 33 minutes after being shown two yellow cards in the space of a minute following an angry exchange with Cologne defender Henrique Sereno at the Allianz Arena last night.
Despite the numerical disadvantage, Bayern went ahead after the break when striker Mario Gomez claimed his 16th goal in 16 league games before second-half substitute David Alaba doubled Bayern's lead just after the hour mark.
Germany midfielder Toni Kroos then made it three in the closing minutes as unconvincing Cologne's defence fell apart. The win leaves Bayern six points clear at the top of the Bundesliga table ahead of the weekend's other games.
Coach Heynckes said his team will be even better in January when Germany star Schweinsteiger returns from a broken collarbone and Dutch winger Robben hopefully shakes off the groin injury which has plagued him for months. Bayern play their next league game on 20 January at Borussia Monchengladbach.
"Once we have Schweinsteiger back, and once Robben is fully fit again, we'll certainly do well in the second half of the season," said Heynckes. "Ribery's sending-off made it even more difficult, but my team responded magnificently.
"We struck at the decisive moments, we let them have nothing at all, and we kept our discipline. We fully deserved to win, and it was the right margin of victory too. We dominated the match and translated our footballing class into goals."
Goalkeeper Michael Rensing, who joined Cologne in 2010 after losing his place at Bayern, admitted the hosts were the better team. "We tried everything we could with the resources available to us," he said.
"In the first half, we basically did what we set out to do. The first two goals were both avoidable, but it killed us. Bayern were the better team and deserved to win."
Bayern have a big 2012 ahead and take on Manchester United-slayers FC Basel in the Round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League, while the final will be held in Munich next May.
Hoeness happy with Heynckes
Bayern president Uli Hoeness was full of praise for the work Heynckes has done since taking over as head coach in July after the Bavarian giants sacked Louis van Gaal in April.
"Our second-half display was terrific, and you wouldn't necessarily have expected it at half-time," said Hoeness. "Last summer, Jupp Heynckes came in as the right coach for this football club's bruised soul. Since he's been here, it's been totally calm at FC Bayern. We're currently in the best possible shape."