Bayern Munich moved to within one victory of a fourth straight Bundesliga title with a hard-fought 2-0 win over Hertha Berlin at the Olympiastadium on Saturday.
Arturo Vidal and Douglas Costa scored in the second half as Pep Guardiola's side maintained their seven-point lead over Borussia Dortmund - who won 3-0 at Stuttgart - with three matches remaining.
The Chilean found the net soon after the restart with a deflected shot after a difficult first period, before Douglas Costa doubled his side's lead with a stunning long-range strike late on.
Hertha had arguably been the better side in the opening 45 minutes and felt they should have had a penalty after Medhi Benatia seemed to handle the ball inside his own area.
But Vidal's opener swung the momentum Bayern's way and they eventually pulled further clear through Douglas Costa to take the three points back to Munich.
Guardiola opted to leave Philipp Lahm out of his squad altogether with an eye on the first leg of the Champions League semi-final tie against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday, while David Alaba, Franck Ribery and Javi Martinez all started from the bench.
Bayern will now clinch the German title for the fourth time in succession if they beat Borussia Monchengladbach at the Allianz Arena next week.
Douglas Costa carved out the first chance of the match after a good run from midfield, firing straight at Hertha goalkeeper Thomas Kraft from the edge of the box.
Hertha did well to keep Bayern at bay in the opening stages of the game, though, and they felt aggrieved not to be awarded a penalty midway through the first half when Benatia seemingly blocked Mitchell Weiser’s goalbound shot with his arm.
Thiago Alcantara came close to opening the scoring for Bayern shortly afterwards following a clever throughball from Douglas Costa, but Kraft denied the Spain international with a fine save.
Vidal eventually broke the deadlock in the 48th minute after some good work from Mario Gotze, beating Kraft with a shot from 20 yards that took a deflection off a Hertha defender.
The Chile international's goal saw Bayern grab the initiative after an underwhelming first half, which had seen them fail to create many chances of note.
Douglas Costa made it two with a stunning strike in the 79th minute, though, cutting inside from the right before firing a left-footed shot into the top-left corner to effectively put the match to bed as Bayern cruised towards another season of domestic dominance.
Key Opta stats:
- Pep Guardiola won his 250th Bundesliga point in his 99th match.
- Thomas Muller won all of his 10 matches versus Hertha, no other player in Bundesliga history has achieved that.
- Bayern had only 6 shots in this match and all 6 were on target - 2 of them found the net. Berlin fired 9 shots, but none on target.
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