Bayern Munich defeated Hoffenheim 4-3 to reach the DFB-Pokal quarter-finals.
Holder Bayern appeared to be cruising into the last eight when Lewandowski put it 3-1 up at half-time on Wednesday, yet a lacklustre second-half showing gave Hoffenheim – which had taken the lead through Jerome Boateng’s own goal – unexpected hope.
Bayern had quickly levelled when Benjamin Hubner put through his own goal before Muller – who had a hand in all three of the host’s first-half goals – nosed the side ahead.
Lewandowski’s second made it 4-1 with 10 minutes to go before Munas Dabbur’s late double set up the possibility of unlikely comeback that just fell short as Bayern ultimately did enough to book its progress.
Bayern thought it had the lead in the fifth minute, yet Muller had strayed marginally offside before he teed up Lewandowski and, against the run of play, the host was behind when Boateng sliced in Ihlas Bebou’s strike.
But Hoffenheim’s lead was short lived as Hubner, under pressure from Muller, was only able to turn Alphonso Davies’ cross into his own net.
The turnaround was complete in the 20th minute, Muller sending a nonchalant side-foot volley beyond Philipp Pentke, who then made outstanding stops to deny Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry.
Lewandowski would not be denied again, though, heading into an empty net after Muller forced Pentke into a poor punch.
Pentke did well to prevent Lewandowski doubling his tally five minutes after the break, before Muller squandered a golden chance to get his second.
Steven Zuber had a goal disallowed for the visitor and Bayern extended the lead when Lewandowski headed in Joshua Kimmich’s corner with 10 minutes remaining.
Sloppy Bayern defending gifted Dabbur his first as he dinked over Manuel Neuer and the substitute striker tapped home the rebound after Benjamin Pavard sliced Pavel Kaderabek’s cross against the left post in the second minute of injury time to add to Bayern’s nerves.
The host just about saw it out, though, to put its names into the hat for the last eight.
Despite his struggles at Bayern, Niko Kovac did win the domestic double last season and Hansi Flick – who is surely in with a chance of getting the job permanently – will be eager to match his predecessor’s achievements.
With Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig having both slipped out on Tuesday, Bayern is certainly the clear favourite to win the competition for what would be a 20th time, though it will have to be much more solid at the back in the next round.
After a difficult season in 2018-19, Muller has been back to his best since Flick took charge and, along with Lewandowski, ultimately ensured Bayern’s defensive lapses did not come back to cost the host on Wednesday.
It was a woeful start for Boateng, who made a mess of attempting to clear Bebou’s effort and the former Manchester City man was lucky not to net a second own goal in the second half when he deflected a strike just over the bar.
Pavard, meanwhile, made a poor mistake for Hoffenheim’s final goal and – along with the rest of the defence – was guilty of overplaying when Dabbur made it 4-2.
The Bundesliga’s top two face off when Bayern hosts RB Leipzig on Sunday, while Hoffenheim is in action against Freiburg a day earlier.