Bayern top Bundesliga again after 2-1 win in Stuttgart
Bayern Munich have earned an important 2-1 win at VfB Stuttgart to reclaim first place in the Bundesliga on goal difference over Borussia Dortmund in what now appears increasingly to be a two-horse title race.
Matthijs de Ligt and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting scored for the 10-time reigning champions Munich on Saturday in an 11th straight league win in Stuttgart - after a few anxious final minutes as Juan Jose Perea pulled one back for the hosts.
Bayern and Dortmund moved five points clear at the top as their closest rivals failed to win.
Third-placed Union Berlin were held 0-0 by Cologne for a third game without victory.
RB Leipzig and Freiburg are another two points back, with Freiburg held to a goalless draw at 10-man Borussia Monchengladbach, and Leipzig beaten 2-1 in Dortmund on Friday.
Stuttgart are tied with three other teams at the bottom of the table, only in safe 15th on goal difference ahead of Hoffenheim, Schalke and Bochum in a dramatic dogfight which also includes Hertha Berlin who have one point more.
Schalke came off the bottom for the first time since October, sending regional rivals Bochum to the basement with a 2-0 victory against them.
Bayern started with intent but Stuttgart goalkeeper Fabian Bredlow saved well from Joshua Kimmich's attempt from a distance and Leon Goretzka's header from point blank range.
But Bredlow made a howler in the 39th when de Ligt fired from long range effort and the ball slipped through his gloves into the left corner.
Stuttgart had chances of their own, but their fate seemed sealed in the 62nd when striker Choupo-Moting slotted home off Thomas Muller for his 10th goal of the season.
But Perea's 87th-minute header led to an exciting finale, with Tanguy Coulibaly heading inches wide in stoppage time in a lucky break for Bayern.
"We are satisfied. We are first again. That is what we wanted going into the game," Muller told Sky TV.
"Maybe it was a good test for Wednesday," he added in reference to the Champions League last-16 date with Paris St Germain.
In Bochum, Philipp Hofmann missed a sitter early on for the hosts but their goalkeeper Manuel Riemann then gifted visiting Schalke the lead when he pushed the ball into his own net in a goalmouth scramble.
Marius Bulter wrapped up matters in the 79th as Schalke prevailed at the former club of coach Thomas Reis.
Schalke had been last since October 23 but have turned their fortunes around with 10 points from six unbeaten games, including back-to-back wins.
Hoffenheim suffered their 11th defeat in 13 winless games at Mainz, losing 1-0.
Mainz rose to seventh, with a fourth straight win, while Augsburg beat Werder Bremen 2-1.