Bayern Munich can temper the disappointment of their Champions League exit by winning a record fourth consecutive Bundesliga title against Ingolstadt on Saturday.
Pep Guardiola’s final attempt to make Bayern European champions before leaving for Manchester City at the end of the season ended in failure on Tuesday, Atletico Madrid progressing on away goals despite Bayern winning the second leg of their semi-final 2-1.
League success has been more forthcoming for the departing Spaniard, Guardiola on the verge of his third title in a row with two games remaining of the 2015-16 campaign.
Having dropped points in just six games – and conceded only 15 goals – Bayern sit five clear of Borussia Dortmund ahead of their first trip to Ingolstadt.
“We tried everything [against Atletico], unfortunately it wasn’t enough,” said captain Philipp Lahm.
“It’s a bitter disappointment to be knocked out. But we can still finish the season celebrating.
“We can still finish with the double.”
Victory is far from guaranteed for Bayern, though, given Ingolstadt’s impressive home form in the second half of the season.
In 2016, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side has claimed 18 points at Audi-Sportpark – a statistic only bettered by Dortmund – on their way to securing top-flight football for another season.
Survival was confirmed last weekend despite losing 2-1 against Hoffenheim, the bottom three remaining seven points below them with only six available.
Saturday’s visit of Bayern – who continue to be without Holger Badstuber and Arjen Robben – provides the perfect chance to celebrate their success, however the visitors have a stunning record against newly promoted sides, so three points for the hosts may be unlikely.
Bayern have not lost in 24 matches against clubs ascending to the Bundesliga – a run that stretches back to August 2010 – scoring 80 goals, and conceding just 11.
But Ingolstadt assistant Michael Henke hopes to end that run and upset the leaders with a famous victory.
“We showed in the last match [that finished 2-0 to Bayern], what our idea is and this won’t change much,” assistant coach Michel Henke told Ingolstadt’s official website.
“I don’t think being exclusively defensive against Bayern is a good idea. We play at home and we are looking forward to the match and being offensive.
“In the last match we have shown a good performance, even though we didn’t score the deserved goal.
“If you face an opponent like this, your only chance is to play with courage and to play cheeky. It is always possible that a team like this puts you under much pressure. But for our fans we want to deliver a good end of the season.”
Ingolstadt – who will bid farewell to Hasenhuttl at the end of the campaign after he opted not to renew his contract – have Robert Bauer and Romain Bregerie sidelined through suspension for the clash, while Danilo Soares is ruled out with a toe injury.
Key Opta stats:
– If Bayern win this weekend they will become the first side to lift the Bundesliga title in four consecutive seasons. A defeat may also be enough if Borussia Dortmund drop points at struggling Eintracht Frankfurt.
– This is the latest point in a season that the destination of the title has still to be decided since 2009/10 (when Bayern claimed it on matchday 34).
– Pep Guardiola’s men will finish the season with the third-highest away points tally in Bundesliga history regardless of what happens this weekend (currently 39). Bayern claimed both of the higher returns too (44 in 2013/14 and 47 in 2012/13).
– Ingolstadt have won just two of their last 10 (drawing five and losing three). Both of those victories came at home.
– Bayern have conceded just two goals across the past eight matchdays. They have let in 15 goals this term so could set a new record low in the top flight (currently 18, set by themselves).
– Forwards Robert Lewandowski (27) and Thomas Muller (20) have both netted at least 20 goals for Bayern this season. The last pairing to manage this feat was Edin Dzeko and Grafite (for Wolfsburg in 2008/09).
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