A superb second-half strike from Matthijs de Ligt gave Bayern Munich a 1-0 victory at Freiburg, keeping them two points clear atop the table as title rivals Borussia Dortmund also won on Saturday.
Borussia Dortmund’s 2-1 win over third-placed Union Berlin maintains the pressure on the perennial German champions’ bid for an 11th straight Bundesliga title.
Bayern, who were eliminated by Freiburg 2-1 in the German Cup on Tuesday, had a chance for revenge but lacked fluency despite new coach Thomas Tuchel naming an attack-heavy line-up.
Sadio Mane, starting for the first time under Tuchel, had Bayern’s best chance of the first half, beating goalkeeper Mark Flekken but chipping inches wide.
Freiburg had a chance of their own just before half-time, Ritsu Doan’s shot rebounding off the underside of the bar.
Bayern broke the deadlock early in the second half, De Ligt’s long-range shot taking a slight deflection and flying past a helpless Flekken.
Freiburg nearly equalised late but Bayern ‘keeper Yann Sommer got his foot to a Roland Sallai strike to preserve the visitors’ advantage.
“We had many chances and we should have used them better, but thankfully we did not concede a goal,” said De Ligt.
Bayern now have two wins and a loss under Tuchel, ahead of Tuesday’s trip to Manchester City in the Champions League.
A late goal from substitute Youssoufa Moukoko took Dortmund to a nervy victory over Union.
Dortmund took the lead midway through the first half, Malen poking in a Raphael Guerreiro cross from close range, his third goal in as many matches.
Union fought back in typical fashion, Kevin Behrens levelling the scores with the away side’s first shot on target.
Dortmund coach Edin Terzic brought on captain Marco Reus and teenage striker Moukoko with 15 minutes remaining and the two combined for a crucial goal in Dortmund’s bid to unseat Bayern as league champions.
Moukoko revealed Terzic said “when you come in, decide the game”.
“I could smell it – it was striker’s instinct,” he added.
Bayer Leverkusen won 3-1 at home against Eintracht Frankfurt to leapfrog their opponents into sixth, thanks to goals from Amine Adli, Moussa Diaby and Sardar Azmoun.
Frankfurt’s Djibril Sow pulled a goal back with 15 minutes remaining, but Leverkusen held on for their fifth straight league victory.
The win keeps Leverkusen on track for the Champions League places in a remarkable resurgence under coach Xabi Alonso, who took over with the side in second-last place in October.
Elsewhere, goals from Ellyes Skhiri, Eric Martel and Linton Maina secured Cologne a 3-1 win at Augsburg, their first victory since February.
Mainz’s late season run towards a Europa League place took a hit after a 2-2 home draw against Werder Bremen, with each side scoring twice in the final five minutes.
In Saturday’s late game, RB Leipzig travel to the German capital to take on Hertha Berlin.
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