Bayern Munich were crowned winter champions in the Bundesliga by overcoming a plucky Ingolstadt side 2-0 at the Allianz Arena.
Pep Guardiola’s side suffered their first top-flight defeat of the season at Borussia Monchengladbach last weekend, but secured a hard-earned three points to spend the mid-season break at the summit for a record fifth straight year.
Ingolstadt entered the game with just two losses from their eight games on the road this season, and that confidence showed in Munich as they frustrated the champions with a well-organised display.
Bayern were denied an opener midway through the first half when Lewandowski saw his shot cleared off the line, but Manuel Neuer was forced into a trio of saves before the interval to ensure his side went in level.
However, the Bavarian giants upped their game in the second half and finally broke through thanks to Lewandowski’s 15th Bundesliga goal of the season, before Lahm added a second with 15 minutes remaining.
Ingolstadt could have taken the lead inside the first minute when Neuer’s sloppy clearance fell straight at the feet of Stefan Lex, but Lukas Hinterseer was offside from his attempted throughball.
Bayern dominated possession but, with Ingolstadt pressing high up the pitch, they did not muster a shot on target until the 25th minute.
Joshua Kimmich clipped a pass in behind the defence for Lewandowski to chase, but the striker’s lob over the onrushing Ramazan Ozcan was cleared off the line by Romain Bregerie.
There was more action inside Bayern’s defensive third than that of Ingolstadt, and Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men pushed for the opener as the interval approached.
Following a neat passage of play, Pascal Gross’ shot was blocked by Lahm, and Roger’s volley from the subsequent corner forced Neuer down to his bottom corner.
The Bayern goalkeeper was called upon twice more in quick succession, racing off his line to thwart Lex before parrying a 25-yard strike from Hinterseer away from goal.
Guardiola’s side showed more urgency after the restart but Lahm and Lewandowski were denied by the impressive Ozcan before the hour mark.
Bayern remained vulnerable to the break and required Neuer to bail them out when Mathew Leckie released Lex, but they were finally ahead in the 65th minute.
Jerome Boateng’s brilliant pass from deep cut through the Ingolstadt defence, with Lewandowski latching onto it and rounding Ozcan before slotting into the vacant net.
Ingolstadt were unable to mount a response and they fell two behind with 75 minutes on the clock when Lahm added the finishing touch to a quick counter-attack, sweeping home Thomas Muller’s square pass to temporarily extend Bayern’s advantage at the summit to eight points.
Key Opta facts:
– Only one team in Bundesliga history had more points after 16 matches than Bayern this season (43 points): Bayern themselves in Guardiola’s debut season 2013/14 (44 points).
– Bayern have won their last 14 competitive matches at home, scoring at least two goals in each. The last time Bayern achieved that was from 1979 to 1980 (in 26 home matches, which is still club record).
– Robert Lewandowski scored his 106th goal in the Bundesliga, levelling Stephane Chapuisat and Ailton as the third-best foreign goalscorer in Bundesliga history.
– Philipp Lahm scored his 14th goal in his 457th competitive match for Bayern. It was his first Bundesliga goal with the left foot for Bayern.