Paderborn almost put a dent in Bayern's title challenge, but succumbed to a late winner by Robert Lewandowski. The performance of the night came from Paderborn goalkeeper Leopold Zingerle, a former Bayern youth player.
Bayern Munich 3-2 Paderborn, Allianz Arena
(Gnabry 25‘, Lewandowski 70‘, 88‘— Srbeny 44‘, Michel 75‘)
This was supposed to to have been a slam dunk for Bayern Munich. In the end, they sneaked past Paderborn courtesy of a late winner by Robert Lewandowski. Who else?
Paderborn were never ahead in this top-versus-bottom contest, but they left Munich feeling that they deserved more against a Bayern side whose sloppiness almost cost them. Paderborn were wasteful though; they had the chances to dent Bayern's quest for an eighth straight Bundesliga title. They didn't take them, and Lewandowski, the executioner, put them to the sword.
The first half had seen Serge Gnabry put Bayern on the path to what appeared a routine victory, in his 100th Bundesliga appearance. It was the Germany international's third goal in a week following his double in Cologne, and a sign that the 24-year-old is finding his form again as Bayern approach the business end of the season.
But the script was torn up just before the break when Manuel Neuer handed Paderborn an equalizer. The goalkeeper darted off his line but was beaten to the ball and Dennis Srbeny poked it in. Lewandowski made it 2-1 after the break, stabbing in after Gnabry's pace created the opening, but Paderborn leveled for the second time, this time through Sven Michel, who tapped in at the far post, atoning for a big miss a few minutes earlier.
Had Paderborn escaped with a point, they would have been indebted to their goalkeeper Leopold Zingerle. The Bavarian goalkeeper is Munich born and raised, and spent over a deacde at Bayern's youth academy and even has a Bundesliga title to his name, having been a member of Pep Guardiola's domestic squad.
Zingerle returned tot he Allianz Arena with a point to prove, and he did just that with a string of fine saves, which just added to Bayern's frustration. The best of the bunch was an instinctive stop from a bullet header from Lewandowski, with Zingerle sweeping the ball away with his feet with Lewandowski about to pounce on the rebound.
Zingerle's heroics in the Paderborn goal was the narrative for long periods of the second half — but Lewandowski's predatory instincts proved too much for Paderborn and the winner came two minutes from time, with Gnabry notching up a second assist oft he game. It was Lewandowski's 38th goal in 32 games in all competitions this season.
Zingerle, who was embraced by Bayern coach Hansi Flick at full time, was asked by German broadcaster DAZN about his performance and his return to Munich: "It was nice, but I would have preferred a point," he replied.
The result keeps Bayern top of the Bundesliga for now, but victory for RB Leipzig at Schalke in Saturday's late game would see Bayern's lead cut to one. At the bottom, Paderborn remain bottom oft he table, a point behind Werder Bremen and Fortuna Düsseldorf.