Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich made sure they will go into next month’s winter break on top of the table after beating ten-man Freiburg 2-0 on Wednesday to open up a 10-point lead.
Thomas Mueller’s first-half penalty and substitute Anatoliy Tymoshchuk’s 79th-minute strike gave the Bavarians their 12th win in 14 league matches to move on to 37 points with three games left this year.
The visitors never really hit top gear against battling SC Freiburg after coach Jupp Heynckes opted to rest Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Bayern were awarded a penalty for a handball in the 12th minute and Mueller converted from the spot.
Freiburg were left with 10 men six minutes later after Fallou Diagne was sent off after receiving a straight red for bringing down Xherdan Shaqiri.
Bayern controlled the game but needed a superb one-handed Manuel Neuer save to deny Max Kruse on the hour.
With Bayern seemingly content to defend their slim lead, Ukrainian Tymoshchuk was given too much space to control a Philipp Lahm cross, round the ’keeper and tap in.
Gonzalo Castro scored twice as Bayer Leverkusen 04 earned a 4-1 victory at Werder Bremen to move up to second place with 27 points.
Borussia Moenchengladbach’s Juan Arango scored a sensational goal in their 2-0 victory over VfL Wolfsburg, volleying in a 45m diagonal cross from the edge of the box. ’Gladbach move up to ninth on 20 points.
VfB Stuttgart are a point behind after edging past Augsburg 2-1, while TSG 1899 Hoffenheim slumped to a 4-2 defeat at Nuremberg.
Dortmund drew 1-1 with Fortuna Duesseldorf on Tuesday to stay third on 26 with Schalke 04 in fourth place on 24 after slumping to a 3-1 defeat at Hamburg SV.