Two goals from Robert Lewandowski allowed Borussia Dortmund to grab a 3-1 win at VfL Wolfsburg and stay three points clear at the top of the Bundesliga on Saturday, while Bayern Munich were hot on their heels following a 2-1 win against Augsburg.
Dortmund top scorer Lewandowski tapped in a fine Ivan Perisic cutback in the 22nd minute, while Ilkay Gundogan doubled their lead with a curled shot from the edge of the box as the champions extended their unbeaten streak to 23 games with five left to play.
Mario Mandzukic headed in to cut the deficit in the 61st for Wolfsburg, who were left with 10 men a little later after captain Alexander Madlung received a second booking.
Despite frantic efforts by the hosts for an equalizer, Lewandowski killed off the game in a quick break, beating goalkeeper Diego Benaglio in the 90th for his 19th league goal to lift Dortmund to 66 points.
Bayern, who are still chasing a treble after qualifying for the Champions League last four, snatched their ninth straight win in all competitions after Bundesliga top scorer Mario Gomez scored twice to take his league tally to 25.
Bayern, who also face Dortmund in the German Cup final next month, were eager go into the Wednesday league match-up against Dortmund with only a three-point gap and got off to a flying start.
The hosts, who had midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger back in the starting lineup after a knee injury, needed only 25 seconds to score. Gomez found the back of the net with a close range effort following a dizzying run down the wing by Franck Ribery straight after the start.
Gomez, in spectacular form this season, added his 25th league goal on the hour, racing into the box to connect with an Arjen Robben pass from the right after Augsburg had briefly leveled with Koo Ja-cheol.
Bayern are second on 63 with five games left in the campaign.
Borussia Moenchengladbach lost further ground for automatic Champions League qualification when they drew 0-0 against 17th-placed Hertha Berlin to stay in fourth place on 52, two behind Schalke 04.
VfB Stuttgart boosted their chances of European soccer next season with a 4-1 win over Mainz 05 that lifted them up to fifth place on 43.
At the other end of the table, Kaiserslautern dropped deeper into trouble after losing 2-1 at home against Hoffenheim.
Cologne remain third from bottom, in the relegation playoff spot, following a 1-1 draw against Werder Bremen.
SC Freiburg drew 2-2 at home against Nuremberg.
Additional reporting by staff writer