Berlin (AFP) – Bayern Munich opened a four-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga on Saturday with a 2-1 home win over Freiburg, who suffered their first defeat in any competition this season.
Second-placed Borussia Dortmund later missed the chance to trim Bayern’s lead when they lost 2-1 at RB Leipzig.
In Munich, Leon Goretzka put Bayern ahead with half an hour gone at the Allianz Arena before Robert Lewandowski hit his 13th Bundesliga goal this season with 15 minutes left.
Bayern have scored 100 goals this calendar year, one short of the record for a German club, set when Cologne netted 101 times in 1977.
Freiburg, who are third in Germany’s top flight, caused a few nervous looks in the Bayern ranks when substitute Janik Haberer finally beat Manuel Neuer in stoppage time.
Bayern head coach Julian Nagelsmann was pleased with the “very important win against a direct competitor”.
“Freiburg defended well in the box, in the end, two goals were enough, but we could have scored more,” added Nagelsmann.
Under Christian Streich, the longest-serving current Bundesliga coach, Freiburg have this season beaten Champions League teams Dortmund and Wolfsburg and held RB Leipzig to a draw.
Yet they failed in their bid to claim a first away win against Bayern, instead suffering a 19th defeat, plus three draws, in 22 attempts.
One of the visitors’ best opportunities fell to Freiburg striker Lucas Hoeler, who got in behind the defence early on, but fired wide of the post.
Freiburg have the league’s best defence, which has conceded only nine goals in 11 games.
Yet Bayern took a deserved lead on half an hour when Thomas Mueller’s pass into the box was swept inside the post by Goretzka.
Freiburg then held firm until Lewandowski, who marked his 100th Champions League appearance in midweek with a hat-trick in the 5-2 win over Benfica, struck his 22nd goal of the season in all competitions.
Leroy Sane fired the ball towards goal and Lewandowski lunged to steer the shot around Mark Flekken.
Bayern’s France World Cup winner Corentin Tolisso then chipped the ball into Freiburg’s net but Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting was offside.
Haberer claimed Freiburg’s consolation goal when he beat Bayern defender Tanguy Nianzou and swept the ball into the far corner.
Later, Dortmund, with star striker Erling Braut Haaland still sidelined by injury, lost at Leipzig.
After sustained pressure from the home side, Leipzig took a deserved first-half lead.
Josko Gvardiol’s superb pass released Christopher Nkunku who cooly rounded Dortmund goalkeeper Gregor Kobel and slotted into an empty net having also scored in Wednesday’s 2-2 draw at home to Paris Saint-Germain.
Dortmund pulled a goal back when Marco Reus swept a superb pass by Thomas Meunier into the net, but Leipzig restored their lead when Nkunku and Dominik Szoboszlai set up Yussuf Poulsen to tap in the winner.
Leipzig deserved the victory and had a late goal by Nordi Mukiele disallowed for offside.
The result lifts Leipzig to fifth, a point behind Wolfsburg who’s new head coach Florian Kohfeldt earned his third straight win since replacing Mark van Bommel, with a 1-0 victory at home to Augsburg.
Former Manchester City forward Lukas Nmecha celebrated his first call up for Germany with the winning goal by heading in off the post.