Bayern Munich took a huge step towards retaining their Bundesliga title with a slim victory in Der Klassiker at second-placed Borussia Dortmund.
Joshua Kimmich’s sensational chip from 20 yards put Bayern in front two minutes before halftime.
Both sides had gone close to breaking the deadlock before Kimmich’s goal and had efforts cleared off the line.
The game had been hyped as an encounter between two of Bundesliga’s most in-form strikers with Dortmund’s Erling Braut Haaland cast in the mould of the young challenger to Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski throne.
Both strikers who have both scored 41 goals in 35 domestic games this season – putting them level as top goalscorers in Europe drew blanks but came mightily close to adding to their tallies for the season.
Haaland had an effort cleared off the line just 35 seconds into the encounter with Jerome Boateng well placed to divert the ball after Manuel Neuer – making his 400th Bundesliga appearance – had been beaten.
Lewandowski nearly doubled Bayern’s advantage late on but shot against the post.
Shorn of the intimidating “Yellow Wall” at an empty Iduna Signal Park, Dortmund struggled to make much of an impact after the interval with Mahmoud Dahoud’s late effort which was saved by Neuer the closest they got to drawing level.
Their second-half performance contrasted with the vibrant showing in the first when they even had the ball in the net but Thorgan Hazard’s effort was ruled out for offside.
The win puts Bayern seven points clear of Dortmund with six games remaining and all but puts paid to Dortmund title hopes.
In the late kick-offs, 5th-placed Bayer Leverkusen passed up the chance to vault into the top four after they suffered a heavy 4-1 defeat at home by Wolfsburg who are sixth on the log.
Eintracht Frankfurt recovered from a 3-1 deficit to draw three all at home to Freiburg and the game between Werder Bremen and Borussia Monchengladbach also ended in a stalemate with both sides settling for a goalless draw.