Second-half goals from Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman have sent Bayern top of the Bundesliga table with four matches remaining with a 2-0 home win over rock-bottom Hertha Berlin.
Lowly Hertha defended astutely against a Bayern side still struggling to find the fluency they displayed earlier in the season and with 25 minutes to go it appeared the match was heading for a 0-0 draw.
Gnabry had other ideas however, heading in a Kimmich chip in the 69th minute, his first league goal since early February.
The goal broke Hertha’s stubborn resistance, Coman scoring ten minutes later, again assisted by Kimmich.
The win puts Bayern one point clear of Dortmund and on course for a record 11th straight Bundesliga title.
Coman, named man of the match, said his side “need to keep believing in ourselves”, telling DAZN “we can be champions. We will try everything.”
A smiling Bayern manager Thomas Tuchel said the win “will do us good, it’ll give us a bit more self-confidence and trust.”
Hertha manager Pal Dardai, coaching just his second match after returning to the dugout to save the struggling side, said his team could take plenty out of the match to use in their relegation battle.
“The team fought hard. I saw a team today.”
Bayern came into the game knowing a win would return them to the top of the ladder past Dortmund, who were controversially held 1-1 at lowly Bochum on Friday.
Dortmund were denied a late penalty against Bochum which the referee Sascha Stegemann and the German FA later admitted was an error.
Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke issued a statement on Sunday saying “threats and hostility would not be tolerated”, after it emerged Stegemann was under police protection due to the error.
The visitors started the match stranded in last place, five points behind 17th-placed Schalke, who beat Werder Bremen 2-1 late on Saturday.
Bayern started brightly, Man City loanee Joao Cancelo forcing a save from Hertha goalkeeper Oliver Christensen after 90 seconds.
Bayern’s next chance came through another defender, France centre-back Benjamin Pavard, who blasted a powerful, lifting drive inches over the bar from well outside the box.
With the clock winding down in the first half, Gnabry forced another reflex save from Christensen, allowing Hertha to hold the scores at 0-0 at the break.
After defending deep for the opening 25 minutes of the second half, Hertha went on a rare incursion into Bayern territory but the hosts won the ball back to go on the attack against the off form visitors.
Bayern captain Joshua Kimmich dinked the ball over the retreating visitors, finding Gnabry who headed past Christensen.
The goal was just the second strike from a Bayern forward in the club’s past six matches.
Coman, arguably Bayern’s form forward during their recent lean run, followed Gnabry’s initiative, calmly slotting a ball from Kimmich between Christensen’s legs.
Later on Sunday, seventh-placed Wolfsburg host eighth-placed Mainz, with both seeking a win to stay in touch with the European places.
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