Bundesliga defending champions Bayern Munich moved level on points with Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund as they defeated Hertha Berlin 1-0 at the Allianz Arena on Saturday.
With Dortmund not in action against Bayer Leverkusen until Sunday, the champions seized the opportunity to pile pressure onto their rivals despite a largely poor performance against Hertha.
The visitors carried the greater threat before Javi Martinez nodded Bayern in front just after the hour, settling nerves among the home supporters.
The final 30 minutes were still not wholly convincing, however, and long-suffering Bayern winger Kingsley Coman was dealt another injury blow, disappearing down the tunnel nine minutes after arriving from the bench.
A frustrating afternoon for a Hertha side who would have been good value for at least a point ended with Karim Rekik sent off as he lashed out at Robert Lewandowski off the ball.
Bayern will hope they can continue in the same vein when a tricky trip to Borussia Monchengladbach awaits before Bayern next Saturday, as Hertha host Mainz earlier in the same day.
Key Opta facts on the game
- Kingsley Coman appeared only for nine minutes and five seconds but had more chances created (one) than Franck Ribery, whom he replaced, in 58 minutes.
- Javi Martinez scored his first home goal since April 2017 (versus Borussia Dortmund). He has scored five of his last six competitive goals following a corner.
- For the first time since May 2009, Thomas Muller was benched in four successive competitive games for which he was eligible.