FCB made to toil by 'very good' Ingolstadt

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Arsenal? Borussia Dortmund? Wolfsburg? No: promoted FC Ingolstadt were the "best team" to visit the Allianz Arena in the first half of the season, according to Pep Guardiola. There was work aplenty for Bayern in Saturday's last home match of the year before Robert Lewandowski (65) scored the opener. Shortly afterwards, Philipp Lahm (75) wrapped up the win and the so-called 'autumn championship' with one of his rare goals. 2-0: Pep Guardiola's troops were relieved.

"There was a real lack of energy for the first time in a long time. We lacked that little something," explained Philipp Lahm, "the first half is what you get when that happens." FCI played boldly and courageously with aggressive pressing. Bayern had difficulties with the build-up play from their own half, and sustained passing combinations were stifled from the start. "Ingolstadt did what we usually do," analysed Manuel Neuer, who kept the scores level with some excellent saves.

Matthias Sammer detected a mental problem: "We were prepared in theory, but in the first half we weren't willing to confront the challenge. We didn't think fast enough. Ingolstadt did very well." But the sporting director praised the big personalities in the team who "pushed on" and turned the game round: "Manu kept us in the game, the captain netted, and Thomas provided the assist."

Lewy chasing Aubameyang

Lewandowski, who missed Bayern's biggest chance before the break, played his part in it too. "My goal was perfectly timed, it was really important," commented the Pole, "we had some problems, but sometimes you have to stay calm." The striker now boasts 15 Bundesliga goals this season, 14 of them scored in the second half. Defender Jérôme Boateng supplied the killer pass and now has three assists this season.

All in all, the win for the German record champions was definitely deserved. "The points are crucial," commented Sammer in the light of FCB's first defeat of the current Bundesliga campaign last weekend. "It feels good to be at the top over Christmas and the New Year," added Lahm. It would feel even better to stay in the race for the DFB Cup. To achieve this another promoted team have to be overcome: Bayern take on Darmstadt on Tuesday evening at 20.30 CET.


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