Two last-gasp strikes by Arturo Vidal and Arjen Robben secured a crucial away victory for Bayern, who struggled against disciplined Ingolstadt for a long time in Saturday's all-Bavaria derby. Two efforts by Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Müller were scrambled off the goal-line before the Polish striker hit the woodwork, and after 89 minutes it looked like the German record champions just lacked the necessary bit of luck, but their relentless pressure paid off in the dying seconds.
The champions lined up with Manuel Neuer between the sticks and a back four comprising Philipp Lahm, Javi Martínez, Mats Hummels and David Alaba. Joshua Kimmich, Vidal and Xabi Alonso took up station in front of the rearguard, with Bayern's attacking unit featuring Müller, Thiago and lone striker Lewandowski.
Opting for a 4-3-2-1 formation this time, boss Carlo Ancelotti made two changes to the XI that downed Wolfsburg in Tuesday's cup tie. Müller and Kimmich took over from Robben and Douglas Costa.
Slow-burn first half
The 15,000 capacity crowd at the Audi-Sportpark saw the German record champions in the driving seat, but run up vainly against the rock of the hosts' defence. Apart from a gilt-edged chance for Lewandowski, whose fine lob over netminder Martin Hansen was scrambled off the line by Marvin Matip after the quarter-hour, Bayern failed to create anything of attacking note.
There were few sustained passing combinations, and when Bayern set up promising moves, they were often spoiled by stray passing due to dogged defending from Ingolstadt. The hosts worked tirelessly without the ball, but failed to do anything special when they had it, whereas the champions lacked width in a dour first half.
Late reward as Reds up the ante
Whatever Ancelotti said to his troops during the interval, it had an immediate effect. The Reds were more resolute in looking for the opener after half-time, and their pressure almost paid off instantly, but Müller's effort was again cleared off the line. The game sprang to life now, and Bayern's attacking play also made it easier for Ingolstadt to threaten on the break. Ancelotti played his first card in an effort to further galvanise his side after the hour mark, wing wizard Douglas Costa coming on for Alonso. Lewandowski was soon upended in the box by Ingolstadt's Almog Cohen, but match official Felix Zwayer waved play on. A Lewandowski belter hit the woodwork as Robben and Rafinha took over from Kimmich and Lahm.
Shortly before the final whistle many thought Bayern would be left looking nervously over their shoulders in the table. Five minutes and two fine strikes later the exact opposite was true. Vidal latched on to a fine Müller cross and finally found the net. The hosts were left reeling, a feeling compounded by the sight of a Bayern winger closing out the match. Barely 120 seconds after the opener Robben and Costa set up a stunning combaination near the hosts' box, the Dutchman crowning the attack with a fine finish into the left corner of the net before disappearing from sight beneath a scrum of team-mates.
There was even more good news coming for Ancelotti's men as they approached the sidelines and heard about the other results. Chief pursuers RB Leipzig lost 3-0 at home to Hamburg, meaning that Bayern's cushion at the top of the standings has grown to seven points. The men from Munich have 49 points from 20 matches and are back in action on Wednesday, when they cross swords with Arsenal in the Champions League last sixteen before travelling to face Hertha Berlin next Saturday.
Live match report for fcbayern.com by Gregor Salmen
FC Ingolstadt - FC Bayern 0-2 (H-T: 0-0)
Hansen - Bregerie, Matip, Tisserand - Hadergjonaj, Cohen, Morales, Suttner - Lezcano (Hinterseer 74), Groß (Lex 79), Leckie (Jung 89)
Nyland - Bernardo, Leipertz, Levels
Neuer - Lahm (Rafinha 80), Martínez, Hummels, Alaba - Kimmich (Robben 74), Xabi Alonso (Costa 64), Vidal - Müller, Thiago - Lewandowski
Ulreich - Bernat, Coman, Sanches
Felix Zwayer (Berlin)
0-1 Vidal (90), 0-2 Robben (90+1)
Bregerie, Groß / Lewandowski