Philipp Lahm was all smiles following Bayern's narrow win at Ingolstadt on Saturday. - © © imago / DeFodi
Philipp Lahm was all smiles following Bayern's narrow win at Ingolstadt on Saturday. - © © imago / DeFodi

Philipp Lahm buzzing after perfect weekend for FC Bayern München

You only needed to take a look at the expression on Philipp Lahm's face to gauge the mood in the FC Bayern München camp at the final whistle on Matchday 20.

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The 33-year-old Bayern captain, who last week announced he will be retiring from the game in the summer, had a grin stretching from ear to ear. "This was the kind of weekend we like," he said. Indeed, the value of Bayern's last-gasp 2-0 win over FC Ingolstadt 04 was magnified by defeats for their pursuers in Saturday's other fixtures, meaning the record champions were able to look ahead to their UEFA Champions League midweek clash with Arsenal FC with a seven-point cushion at the top of the Bundesliga.

Watch: Arjen Robben says Bayern have something to celebrate after Ingolstadt win:

How good that feels could be seen in the way Lahm was joined by the usually reserved Carlo Ancelotti in an outpouring of emotion following Arjen Robben's late strike. "Wins are always something special even for us - all the more so when you clinch them so late in the game," said Lahm, who admitted lady luck had been looking down on his team.

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It is already the fourth time this season that Bayern have won games with goals in the final ten minutes. They managed it in their opening fixture of 2017 against SC Freiburg, and again on Saturday. But it is not all about lucky breaks. "You also need the conviction that you can still win the game no matter how late it is," Lahm said. Bayern have proven time and time again that such conviction is inherent, even when not everything is quite running like a well-oiled machine.

- © gettyimages / Marc Mueller

"We've proven again that we can turn things on when needed." - Karl-Heinz Rummenigge

Bayern's performances of late may not have fully lived up to the eye-catching standards set in recent years, although the outcome has invariably been the same, thanks to their belief. "We showed great character," said Ancelotti. "We really had to crank things up in the second half, and we got our reward in the end."

An improvement against Premier League high-flyers Arsenal is undoubtedly going to be necessary, but the experienced Lahm does not doubt his team's ability to raise their game when it matters. "We're always ready," he said ahead of his side's third last-16 tie with the London-based club in the past five years. The last two have both gone Bayern's way, but Lahm is not taking it for granted that the same will happen this time around. "They're making an overall better and more consistent impression right now compared to our last meetings against them," he warned.

Another step forward will now be needed to ensure Lahm gets to hear that revered Champions League anthem echoing around the Allianz Arena at least once more from down on the field. The outcome on Wednesday will not definitely determine whether that will happen, however.

"The best outcome would be for us not to concede," Lahm said. "No matter what happens in the first leg, it will still be all to play for in the return."

Maximilian Lotz reporting from Ingolstadt / Adapted by Ben Gladwell

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