With around an hour played in FC Bayern München’s match at home to Bavarian neighbours FC Ingolstadt and the score still tied at 0-0, Pep Guardiola grabbed a pen and paper, scribbled some instructions and handed the note to captain Philipp Lahm.
Goals: 1-0 Lewandowski (65'), 2-0 Lahm (75')
The Bundesliga leaders duly went on to win 2-0, with the 32-year-old captain getting on the scoresheet himself. Speaking after the final whistle, Lahm explained what was in Guardiola’s message, and analysed Ingolstadt’s bold display at the Allianz Arena.
Question: Philipp Lahm, congratulations on being Herbstmeister (mid-term leaders). What significance does that title have for you?
Philipp Lahm: It’s always nice to be top of the table over the Christmas period and into the New Year. It gives you a good feeling. We want to stay right at the top too.
Question: Were you surprised by Ingolstadt’s attacking strategy?
Lahm: We weren’t actually surprised because we were prepared for them to come at us. We just had some difficulties and they played really well. They played in a similar way to the way we do when we’re not in possession. They did it superbly, so deserve a lot of credit for that.
'We can't rotate as much as we'd like to'
Question: Why was it that Bayern were not quite at their best in the first half?
Lahm: It’s only when things aren’t going so well that you can see everything you’ve achieved in the last few years. In the last few weeks and months we’ve played with the same energy, but that was lacking a bit in the first half. And when that happens, the way we play doesn’t look as it normally does. At the moment we have a few people injured unfortunately, so we can’t rotate as much as we’d like to. That’s not an excuse. We have to learn from it so that we’re always able to show what we’re capable of out on the pitch.
Question: At half-time did you consider that Ingolstadt wouldn’t be able to maintain their style of play over the entire 90 minutes?
Lahm: We changed some things: the coach showed us a different approach to get at them and showed us the options we have at our disposal. I think at some point Ingolstadt did get a bit tired because it’s difficult to play like that against us for 90 minutes. Nevertheless, you’ve still got to win games like that.
Question: What was on the piece of paper Pep Guardiola gave you during the second half?
Lahm: The coach told me that I should score – and preferably with my left foot. And as I’m a model professional I did exactly that! [Laughs] Joking aside, there were some things on there that I won’t make public, but everyone could see the way we were playing before then and how we were tactically a bit different afterwards.
Question: What sort of match are you expecting against another promoted side, Darmstadt 98, in the DFB Cup on Tuesday?
Lahm: It’s a cup game so we certainly want to reach the next round. We’re playing at home. We want to play better than we did against Ingolstadt and play with greater energy and commitment.
Maximilian Lotz reporting from Munich