Bayern Munich didn’t seem to miss top scorer Robert Lewandowski on Saturday, taking a big step in the title race with a 1-0 win in the Bundesliga table-topper clash against second-placed RB Leipzig.
Earlier, Eintracht Frankfurt secured a late away win against Borussia Dortmund to take home three important points in the fight for a Champions League spot next season.
Without Lewandowski, who is sidelined after suffering a knee injury during the international break with Poland, Leon Goretzka was responsible for securing a victory for the Bavarians.
After a restless first half on both sides, Goretzka broke the deadlock in the 38th minute with a powerful shot after a perfectly placed assist by Thomas Mueller.
Leipzig worked hard in the second half to at least rescue a point and keep title hopes high, but keeper Manuel Neuer was superb to secure Bayern the three points.
“An important step. We don’t want to let this be taken away from us,” Neuer told broadcaster Sky.
Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann said his team team was “certainly” not worse, but less effective in scoring goals.
“We still played a very good game and pressed Bayern well at the back in the second half. We just missed every chance, unfortunately,” he said.
Bayern now have a seven-point advantage over Leipzig with seven games left in the season.
Frankfurt opened the scoring with 11 minutes played thanks to Dortmund defender Nico Schulz, who looped a header over keeper Marwin Hitz and into his own goal.
But shortly before the break, Mats Hummels levelled it up for the hosts as he volleyed the ball into the net after a Marco Reus corner.
In the second half, Stefan Ilsanker had his goal ruled out for offside before team-mate Andre Silva secured the late win for Frankfurt with a power header in the 87th minute.
“I wasn’t disappointed when my goal was disallowed because I knew we would score another. That’s exactly what happened,” Ilsanker said.
Dortmund had a big chance to rescue a point on added time, but Emre Can’s header was blocked by midfielder Djibril Sow over the line.
“The result is deserved, even though Dortmund had their chances. We had the better opportunities though and were desperate to get the win,” coach Adi Huetter said.
Frankfurt are currently fourth, the last place in the top-four qualifying Champions League zone.
Dortmund come right after in fifth, but seven points behind.
Flying high in the fight for a chance to play the Champions League next season are third-placed Wolfsburg, who secured a 1-0 home win over Cologne.
Bayer Leverkusen, who also battles Dortmund and Frankfurt for a spot in the continental competition, beat Schalke 2-1.
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scored his first goal since his return to Schalke, who remain bottom of the table, but that wasn’t enough to avoid defeat.
Elsewhere, Mainz and Arminia Bielefeld played out a 1-1 draw and Augsburg beat Hoffenheim 2-1.