Bayern Munich cut Borussia Dortmund’s lead at the top of the Bundesliga table to just two points on Saturday with a 2-1 victory at Mainz, thanks to Thiago Alcantara’s winning goal.
While goals by Leon Goretzka and Thiago sealed the three points for Bayern, Dortmund have only themselves to blame for conceding a 91st-minute penalty which Salomon Kalou converted in their 2-2 draw at home to Hertha Berlin.
English teenager Jadon Sancho scored twice and could have finished with four goals in an outstanding display for Dortmund, only for Kalou to snatch a point by converting the late penalty after his first-half strike.
Dortmund’s next home league match — against Bayern in a fortnight — is shaping up to be a top-of-the-table clash.
Bayern have climbed from sixth to fourth and now to second over the last seven days, claiming three straight wins in the process, after ending a four-match winless streak.
“We certainly had to work hard for that and it certainly wasn’t as brilliant as we had hoped,” admitted Bayern head coach Niko Kovac.
“We’re happy to have won our three games in a row, I think victory here was deserved and we hope this run continues.”
It was all one-way traffic in the first half as Bayern dominated Mainz with Joshua Kimmich hitting the woodwork on 27 minutes and Thiago had an effort disallowed for offside.
But the Mainz defence yielded when Goretzka volleyed home six minutes before half-time.
Just as it looked like Bayern were going to pull away, Mainz equalised thanks to sloppy defending.
Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer was furious after Serge Gnabry failed to stop a cross by Daniel Brosinski and Jean-Paul Boetius stole a yard on Kimmich to tap home on 48 minutes.
But having earlier been denied, Thiago slid in to tap home Robert Lewandowski’s low cross with 28 minutes to go.
Werder Bremen can retake second spot from Bayern if they beat Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday.
– Kalou punishes Dortmund –
In Dortmund, Sancho provided the hosts’ goals after also seeing an audacious backheel chip ruled out for offside and a shot cleared off the line.
Sancho finally got on the scoresheet by firing home from a tight angle after a great pass by Mario Goetze on 27 minutes.
However, Hertha showed how dangerous they are on the counter-attack by equalising four minutes before the break when defender Maximilian Mittelstaedt, 21, sent Kalou away to bundle the ball past Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Buerki.
Sancho claimed his second goal on 61 minutes after Dortmund captain Marco Reus did the hard work.
Left-back Achraf Hakimi, on loan from Real Madrid, threaded a pass into Reus, who flicked it past a defender to Sancho, unmarked at the back post, to tap home.
Dortmund were punished for living dangerously late on with Kalou again going close before converting the spot-kick after Davie Selke was brought down in the box.
Elsewhere, Wolfsburg ended a seven-game winless run with a 3-0 romp at bottom side Fortuna Duesseldorf with Wout Weghorst converting a first-half penalty before Josip Brekalo and Daniel Ginczek added second-half goals.
Augsburg stay in mid-table after their 2-1 win at Hanover while Borussia Moenchengladbach sit third after losing 3-1 at Freiburg on Friday.