Bayern Munich returned to winning ways in the Bundesliga after seeing their unbeaten run come to an end last weekend against Borussia Mönchengladbach, but they didn’t have things all their own way as minnows FC Ingolstadt made them really work for their victory.
Pep Guardiola’s side ran out as 2-0 winners, but that doesn’t quite tell the whole story of a highly spirited display from their Bavarian neighbours. The first half saw the visitors more than hold their own against their glamourous foes, but in the second half, they were just unable to resist the quality thrown at them with goals from Robert Lewandowski (64′) and Philipp Lahm (74′) finally seeing the result swing in Bayern’s favour.
Ingolstadt’s game plan and execution were superb for so long and they leave the Allianz Arena defeated but full of pride for giving the league leaders one of their toughest games so far at home.
Badstuber and Kimmich start
Pep Guardiola had bemoaned pre-match the lengthy injury list affecting the club at the moment, but he still managed to pick an eleven filled with quality internationals.
There were rare starts for both Holger Badstuber and Joshua Kimmich as the Bavarians were forced to use their ‘squad players’. Badstuber, finally over his horrible thigh injury, which has kept him out for so long, made his first start of the season after 37 minutes as a substitute thus far. He was quickly in the action, clashing heads with Lukas Hinterseer and ending up looking like he’d been thumped by Vladimr Klitschko with blood pouring out of a head wound. The centre-back recovered to put in a solid display at the back for Bayern.
The only non-international in the Bayern starting XI, Kimmich put in a decent display and did enough to give credence to Pep Guardiola’s claim that he will be a regular for the German national team in the not-to-distant future.
You shall not pass!
It wasn’t just a clash of the two Bavarian sides, it was a clash of the Bundesliga’s two meanest defences. Ingolstadt are not the second tightest defence in Germany for nothing and while it wasn’t exactly Lord of the Rings-esque with Gandalf bellowing at Balrog on the bridge of Khazad-Dum, die Schanzer proved themselves against the Rekordmeister even though they did ultimately concede twice.
The central defensive pairing of Romain Bregerie and Marvin Matip were water-tight for so long and the cover provided in front of them by Roger was immense. They blunted the league’s top scorers for well over an hour, and it was only really a couple of rushes of blood to head from keeper Ramazan Özcan that saw their back line breached.
Ingolstadt gave Bayern a taste of their own medicine in the first 45 minutes with high pressing right from the start making life uncomfortable for the hosts. Their high defensive line did not allow Bayern the time or space to get their own game going. The stats showed that the visitors enjoyed 40% ball possession in the first 45 minutes, which against Pep Guardiola’s Bayern is no mean feat.
They were no respecter of reputations and forgot they were (a) the away side and (b) a newly promoted side. They even created more chances than Bayern in the first 45 minutes (six opposed to four) showing that it wasn’t just a back-to-the-walls defensive display. Indeed Manuel Neuer was the Bayern player with the fourth highest number of 1st half touches.
The fact that Pep Guardiola was forced to re-jig his line-up with the introduction of Thiago after just 50 minutes in place of Arturo Vidal shows just how he had been out-witted by Ralph Hasenhüttl in the first-half.
In the end though Bayern triumphed and a large slice of the success must go to the scorer of the first goal- Robert Lewandowski. Ingolstadt played really, really well, but against Bayern, being 90% perfect just isn’t good enough when they have a finisher like Lewandowski in the ranks.
He was unlucky not to score in the first half when his lobbed effort was cleared off the line. He was denied by Özcan on a couple pf other occasions before he kept his cool from a tight angle to slot home the opener on 64 minutes. He looked a real threat whenever he was fed the ball and it’s no wonder that rumours of interest from Real Madrid is surfacing as he’s one of the best (if not the best) at what he does.
Bayern: Neuer – Lahm (c), Boateng (Alonso 70’), Badstuber, Rafinha – Javi Martinez – Müller (Rode 79’), Vidal (Thiago 51’), Kimmich, Coman – Lewandowski
Ingolstadt: Özcan – Levels, M. Matip (c) Bregerie, Ro. Bauer – Roger – P. Groß, Cohen (Wannenwetsch 53’) – Lex (Christiansen 68’) Leckie – Hinterseer (Multhaup 78’)