The hosts had taken the lead in freezing temperatures early on through Janik Haberer, however Lewandowski equalised to at least give a poor Bayern parity at half time.
Despite plenty of chances falling to Bayern, it looked like Freiburg would hold on for a point, before a scuffed shot from the Polish frontman gave the champions the win that assured them of being top at the Bundesliga’s halfway point.
Both sides in confident mood
The hosts Freiburg came into the game in confident fashion. They had gone unbeaten in their last four games, and they beat FC Ingolstadt 04 2-1 just before Christmas in their last competitive match to leave them in eighth after 16 matches.
They also had the memory of a 2-1 win against Bayern in the last meeting between the sides in May 2015, where former Bayern striker Nils Petersen had scored the winner.
Bayern finished 2016 where they ended it, top of the Bundesliga. They have been pushed all the way by RB Leipzig so far this season, but put them in their place just before the break with a commanding 3-0 win to leave them three points clear.
Both sides made just one change to their sides from their last games just over four weeks ago, both of which were enforced by injury. The hosts brought in Marc Torrejón for Caglar Söyüncü, and Thomas Müller was recalled in place of Thiago. Petersen, as has been the case for much of this season, was on the bench.
Bayern made to toil in freezing conditions
The game kicked off with temperatures in Germany’s south west around -7°C, and the Bayern half of the pitch was covered in frost. That could have been their excuse for a sluggish start, with the hosts taking the lead inside just seven minutes.
After a few seconds of intense Freiburg pressing, Mats Hummels misplaced a pass to Vincento Grizo, and the home side looked more at home in the conditions as they punished Bayern. Grifo found Haberer, who struck in and easily beat Manuel Neuer.
Freiburg looked far more dangerous going forward than the champions, with Florian Niederlechner coming closest to a second, however his shot from outside was taken by Neuer.
Half of the first period had gone by before Bayern really threatened Freiburg’s goal. Arturo Vidal had his strike from the left put wide by Alexander Schwolow, although Freiburg felt Maximilian Philipp had been fouled by David Alaba moments earlier.
Lewandowski then had a controversial chance. His shot on the turn from Douglas Costa’s cross was deflected over, but he had looked offside when Costa put the ball in. From the following corner, Lewandowski was left unmarked, and was allowed to volley towards goal. Schwolow got a hand to it, but not enough to prevent the equaliser.
Lewandowski delivers late blow to hosts
Bayern came out meaning business in the second half. Müller couldn’t get his feet round the ball for an early chance. He felt he was impeded by Pascal Stenzel but the referee showed no interest. He was then penalised in the box for a foul on Nicolas Höfler after being found by Robben.
It was the Dutchman though who created himself the best chance for Bayern to take the lead. With his left foot he sent an excellent strike towards goal, but Schwolow did excellently to keep it out. The Freiburg keeper then kept out a Hummels header from a Robben cross.
The game remained frantic, with Freiburg giving Bayern the occasional reminder that they were still in the game. Robben though had another opportunity to score as Freiburg made a mess of defending a corner, but he went wide, perhaps shooting from the wrong foot.
Freiburg had two good chances to win it in the final minutes of normal time. Philipp went forward alone, just about beating Neuer with his shoot but saw it go wide, whilst Neuer was able to take a following chance from substitute Petersen.
Then it stoppage time, the sucker punch. Ribéry came down the pitch from the halfway and crossed to Lewandowski. He chested the ball down and despite not getting all of the ball, his stab to send it towards goal was all it needed to give Bayern a last gasp victory.