FC Bayern dramatically won Friday's first competitive fixture after the winter break, beating SC Freiburg 2-1 thanks to an outstanding individual performance by Robert Lewandowski. The match began with a shock for Bayern as Janik Haberer put the ball past Manuel Neuer with three minutes played, but Lewandowski turned the tide with two sumptuous goals after the half-hour and in the dying seconds. The Bavarians dominated possession and oozed individual quality, and although the hosts stood their ground with hard work, going for the one-on-ones and posing a constant threat on the break, Lewandowski ultimately made the difference.
The champions lined up with Neuer in goal and a back four comprising Philipp Lahm, Javi Martínez, Mats Hummels and David Alaba. Xabi Alonso, Arturo Vidal and Thomas Müller took up station in midfield, with Arjen Robben and Douglas Costa out wide and Lewandowski as an orthodox centre-forward.
Carlo Ancelotti made one change to the side that downed RB Leipzig so convincingly before the winter break. Thomas Müller took over from Thiago, sidelined with injury, as the FCB coach opted for a 4-2-3-1 formation. Joshua Kimmich replaced Vidal, who had a rib problem, shortly after the interval. Franck Ribéry and Juan Bernat came on for Costa and Alaba midway through the second half.
Fire on a frozen pitch
In the early exchanges, the promoted home side delighted the 24,000 capacity crowd who braved icy temperatures at the Schwarzwald Stadion. Freiburg roared off the blocks, and Munich had to stomach a shock after three minutes. The hosts gained possession in a feisty central battleground and punished the German record champions with quick play and ruthlessness in front of goal, Haberer leaving Neuer without a chance as he crashed the ball into the far corner of the net.
It was a frantic first quarter-hour with chances at either side, and the Bayern rearguard proved unusually unsteady in the opening stages. Robben cut in from the right in his trademark manner, but aimed too high from the edge of the box. The Bavarians steadily clawed their way back into the contest as the pace dropped a little, but the hosts were always hard-running and battling.
Freiburg netminder Alexander Schwolow performed miracles to deny a Vidal effort from 15 yards midway through the first half. Freiburg's battling was undone after the half-hour when Costa set up Lewandowski, whose effort was blocked. But the Pole immediately atoned for his miss from the ensuing corner, crashing home on the volley as the German record champions reasserted their authority.
Bayern poured forward in search of the lead after the break, but a second goal refused to come at first. A Müller effort from 12 yards was blocked early in the second half before Schwolow, who turned in an impressive display, denied a long-range effort by Robben. Alonso and Robben missed presentable opportunities before Neuer saved a volley from the home team's ex-FCB striker Nils Petersen in the closing stages. But just as the game seemed destined to end in a draw Lewandowski rounded off his brace in stoppage time, superbly controlling a Ribéry cross and blasting home from ten yards via the inside of the post.
The result means Bayern have 42 points from 17 matches and are six points clear at the top of the table overnight at the midpoint of the season. The Bavarians are back in action next Saturday, when they travel to face Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga.
Live match report for fcbayern.com by Gregor Salmen
SC Freiburg - FC Bayern 1-2 (H-T: 1-1)
Schwolow - Stenzel (Kübler 83), Torrejón, Gulde, Günter - Philipp, Höfler, Frantz, Grifo - Niederlechner (Petersen 70), Haberer (Bulut 80)
Gikiewicz - Abrashi, Schuster, Hufnagel
Neuer - Lahm, Martínez, Hummels, Alaba (Bernat 71) - Alonso, Vidal (Kimmich 55) - Robben, Müller, Costa (Ribéry 71) - Lewandowski
Starke - Rafinha, Sanches, Coman,
Manuel Gräfe (Berlin)
1-0 Haberer (4), 1-1 Lewandowski (35), 1-2 Lewandowski (90+1)
Haberer (74), Schwolow (84) / Alonso (30), Costa (48)