Bayern Munich remain five points clear of nearest Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund after a goalless draw between Germany’s top two sides on Saturday.
Bayern’s shock 2-1 defeat on Wednesday to Mainz — their first loss at home this season — meant Pep Guardiola’s Bayern came to second-placed Dortmund with their lead trimmed from eight points.
Despite his side’s healthy lead, Guardiola is clearly feeling the pressure of a league rival for the first time in his three years with Bayern.
“For us every game is a final now, we want to win (the title). So it goes on,” said Guardiola, whose team won the title two years ago with a record seven games left.
Despite the lack of goals, the game lived up to its billing as the clash of the teams which have dominated the German league this season.
There was no quarter asked or given in a high-quality match in the electric atmosphere of Dortmund’s Signal Park Arena in front of 81,359 fans.
“It could have been 2-2 at end of the first half. I think we had the better of the chances overall, but the draw is fair,” said Bayern captain Philipp Lahm.
“We are five points clear with nine games left, so there is still a long way to go and everything is in our hands.”
The game’s best chance came on 64 minutes when Arturo Vidal’s shot was palmed onto the bar by Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Buerki.
The result offers their rivals hope as Bayern have now taken just one point from their last two games.
Earlier, Wolfsburg warmed up for their Champions League clash at home to Gent with a 2-1 win over Borussia Moenchengladach.
The win moved Wolfsburg up to seventh ahead of the visit of Gent on Tuesday, with the Germans leading 3-2 from the last 16, first leg tie.
Julian Draxler and Max Kruse scored as Wolfsburg raced into a 2-0 lead with 17 minutes gone.
Gladbach, who dropped to fifth, pulled a goal back when Brazilian striker Raffael claimed his 12th goal of the season on 23 minutes.
Bayer Leverkusen came back from 3-0 down to avoid a fourth straight league defeat in a 3-3 draw at Augsburg.
Augsburg’s South Korea striker Koo Ja-Cheol scored his first hat-trick in Germany’s top flight to put the hosts 3-0 up mid-way through the second-half.
But Leverkusen, who play Villarreal in the last 16, first-leg, of the Europa League on Thursday, fought back.
Karim Bellarabi scored and an own goal from Augsburg’s Dutch defender Paul Verhaegh made it 2-0 on 80 minutes.
In the dying stages, defender Jeffrey Gouweleeuw used his hands to block a shot and Hakan Calhanoglu converted the 92nd-minute spot kick as Gouweleeuw was sent off.
Having shocked Leverkusen 4-1 on Wednesday when Claudio Pizarro scored a hat-trick, Werder Bremen pulled further away from the relegation zone with a 4-1 thrashing of bottom side Hanover 96.
The 37-year-old Pizarro claimed his fourth goal in two games, and his 11th league goal of the season, when he flicked the ball over his shoulder, beating three defenders, and rifled home on 26 minutes.
He then provided an assist as Czech international Gebre Selassie added Bremen’s third on 56 minutes to leave Werder three points from the relegation spots.
Stuttgart are now up to mid-table after their 5-1 thrashing of second-from-bottom Hoffenheim as defender Georg Niedermeier netted twice.
Hoffenheim, under coach Julian Nagelsmann, 28, the youngest coach in Bundesliga history, remain four points from safety with nine games left.
Schalke are fourth after their 3-1 win at Cologne thanks to goals from Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Max Meyer and Argentina striker Franco di Santo who scored straight after coming off the bench.