BERLIN (Reuters) - A late Thomas Mueller goal and a stoppage-time penalty save by Sven Ulreich gave Bayern Munich a nervous 1-0 victory at VfB Stuttgart on Saturday to go into the winter break with an 11-point lead.
Borussia Dortmund also made sure of a happy Bundesliga break, coming from a goal down to beat Hoffenheim 2-1 thanks to Christian Pulisic’s superb 89th-minute winner, for their second straight victory under new coach Peter Stoeger.
Bayern, who face Dortmund in the German Cup on Wednesday, were again far from effective and looked somewhat surprised by the level of resistance offered by Stuttgart.
Their opponents gradually ran out of steam after the hour, however, and Bayern started creating more chances through Corentin Tolisso and Kingsley Coman.
Frenchman Coman found Mueller in the box and the striker fired in from a tight corner to beat Ron-Robert Zieler in the 79th minute. Bayern then survived the late penalty scare with Ulreich denying the hosts.
The win lifted Bayern to 41 points, with second-placed Schalke 04 rescuing a last-gasp 2-2 draw at Eintracht Frankfurt to move on to 30.
“I cannot understand how Stuttgart don’t have more points,” Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes told reporters. “It was an intense and dramatic game. My players now will need to clear their heads to face Dortmund next week.”
RB Leipzig, third on 28 can overtake Schalke on Sunday, when they take on Hertha Berlin.
Dortmund’s Pulisic picked up a Shinji Kagawa cross and passed from one foot to the other, before volleying in the winner to lift his team back into third place on 28.
Hoffenheim had taken the lead with Mark Uth but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s penalty in the 63rd minute had drawn Dortmund level.
Bottom club Cologne beat VfL Wolfsburg 1-0, celebrating their first win of the season, while lowly Werder Bremen squandered a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 against relegation rivals Mainz 05.
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Pritha Sarkar and Clare Fallon