Bayern Munich extended their lead at the top of the Bundesliga to four points with a 1-0 win over 10-man Werder Bremen at the Allianz Arena.
The in-form visitors had successfully kept Bayern at bay until defender Milos Veljkovic was sent off after picking up a second booking in the 58th minute.
Bayern made the most of their numerical advantage to eventually break through Bremen’s defences, with defender Niklas Sule proving the unlikely scorer of the game’s only goal in the 75th minute.
The result saw Bremen suffer their first defeat of 2019, and it also brought an end to their impressive Bundesliga record of having scored in every game so far this season.
For Bayern, the victory puts daylight between themselves and second-placed Borussia Dortmund ahead of their trip to Freiburg on Sunday.
Serge Gnabry had a good chance to put Bayern ahead in the opening half-hour after he was played in over the top by Thiago Alcantara, only for visiting goalkeeper Jiri Pavlenka to make a great save with his foot.
Gnabry had another opportunity at the end of the first half but, after driving into the box, he fired inches wide of the Bremen goal.
Pavlenka made another reaction save to keep out Gnabry at the start of the second half, diving low to deny the Bayern forward, who had looked the most threatening player for the hosts.
The Bremen goalkeeper was called on again soon after, this time from a Robert Lewandowski header which was was straight at him.
The game changed just before the hour when the visitors were reduced to 10 men, Veljkovic receiving his marching orders after receiving a second booking for a foul just outside the box.
Bayern quickly sought to take advantage and Thomas Muller missed a great chance in the 70th minute when he headed wide after finding himself unmarked at the back post.
Bayern eventually managed to make the breakthrough with 15 minutes left, though.
Sule tried his luck from distance and his shot deflected off a defender and past the diving Pavlenka, giving the Bayern centre-back only his second goal of the season.
Poland forward Lewandowski almost doubled the lead minutes later, taking a touch before striking the ball goalwards, but his effort hit the crossbar before going behind.
Leon Goretzka also had a chance to add a second for Bayern in stoppage time with a shot that went just wide, but it did not matter in the end.
Get the best features, fun and footballing frolics straight to your inbox every week.
Thank you for signing up to Four Four Two. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.