Bayern Munich was twice pegged back by Paderborn, but Robert Lewandowski’s late strike sealed the points.
Robert Lewandowski scored a late winner to ship Bayern Munich four points clear at the peak of the Bundesliga with a 3-2 over bottom side Paderborn.
Hansi Flick’s men double watched a one-goal lead erased by their lowly traffic in an intensive experience, with attempts from Serge Gnabry and Lewandowski cancelled out by Dennis Srbeny and Sven Michel.
However, two minutes at the end of normal time Gnabry and Lewandowski combined to seal maximum points for Bayern, albeit in unconvincing fashion.
After preventing a remarkable slip-up, Bayern can observe the rest of the weekend’s action with the pressure firmly on challengers RB Leipzig as they see Schalke on Saturday trying to decrease the gap back to some stage.
Lewandowski spurned two early chances to start the scoring for Bayern as he headed narrowly wide and was subsequently not able to join with Alvaro Odriozola’s right-wing ball across the face of goal.
Gnabry atoned for Lewandowski’s profligacy, however, because he capitalised on Paderborn’s failure to clear their lines, technology distance in the box and finding the bottom-right corner from close range.
But, Bayern were pegged back before the interval since Paderborn levelled in remarkable conditions.
Srbeny latched onto a ball down the right and left Manuel Neuer pays because of his decision to rush out of his purpose, knocking it through the legs of the goalkeeper before dashing to the box and dispatching to the empty net after evading David Alaba.
Bayern almost provided a direct response in fortuitous conditions, but Corentin Tolisso’s deflected cross-legged on the top of the crossbar.
Leopold Zingerle made heroics to deny Lewandowski twice in under a moment as Bayern pushed to take control in the second half.
The Paderborn keeper tipped over a venomous drive from the Poland global, before getting down low to scramble his header from the resulting corner.
Lewandowski finally conquers Zingerle when Gnabry got to the byline and pulled back for him to slot home, but Paderborn quickly restored parity on the rest.
Neuer could only palm Dennis Jastrzembski’s near-post effort into the path of Michel, who needed no second invitation to tap in the rebound.
Yet there was in a sting in the tail and it arrived as Lewandowski got at the end of a perfectly positioned Gnabry cross to settle things with his 25th league goal of the season.
A home game against a relegation-threatened side was a perfect chance for Bayern to deliver a statement of intent with an emphatic victory.
They did an important role in getting the win which keeps Leipzig at arm’s length, but the essence of the triumph and their vulnerability in the back should give confidence to their name challengers and to Champions League last-16 competitions Chelsea.
Making his 100th Bundesliga look, Gnabry was instrumental for Bayern, playing a part in each goal in a performance that underlined his value to the side.
Known for his willingness to function well outside the boundaries of his area, Neuer played the role of rush keeper flawlessly for the majority of the first half.
But he got it wrong in placing Paderborn’s first equaliser on a plate together with the sort of error that could fuel more debate over his position as Germany’s number one.
Bayern make the trip to Stamford Bridge on Tuesday before visiting Hoffenheim in the league four days after when Paderborn travel to fellow strugglers Mainz.