Bayern Munich netted their tenth win on the trot away at Hoffenheim.
Bayern Munich maintained their 17-point lead in the Bundesliga on Sunday, racking up their 20th league win from 24 games this season after labouring to a 1-0 win at strugglers Hoffenheim.
Bayern claimed their 10th straight victory thanks to Germany striker Mario Gomez’s first-half winner.
Although 47 points separate the two teams in the table, Hoffenheim, second from bottom, worked hard to contain the off-form league leaders before succumbing to their 16th league defeat of the season.
They have won now only one of their last 14 games, including two draws and suffered 11 defeats and face a relegation dogfight of a duel next weekend against bottom club Greuther Fuerth.
Bayern produced a subdued display, despite knocking holders Borussia Dortmund out of the German Cup last Wednesday, with coach Jupp Heynckes admitting his team were off colour.
“The game was very difficult because of the opponent’s league predicament,” said Heynckes.
“We had to work hard for the win, it wasn’t brilliant or glamorous, but in return for 90 minutes work, we got three points.
“We were a bit superficial, we weren’t direct enough and not lively enough. It took a while to warm up the engine.”
Heynckes made five changes from the team which beat Dortmund with reserve goalkeeper Tom Stark starting for Manuel Neuer and Gomez starting for Mario Mandzukic.
Swiss star Xherdan Shaqiri took Toni Kroos’ place in the centre of midfield, Germany’s Jerome Boateng started at centre-back for Belgium’s Daniel van Buyten.
France star Franck Ribery took his place on the left wing from Arjen Robben, left out of the matchday squad despite scoring Wednesday’s winner.
Hoffenheim made a bright start and contained Bayern’s attack until the 38th minute.
Midfielder Igor de Camargo’s mistimed pass was snapped up by Bayern’s Boateng, who fired in a cross for Ribery to head back across goal to Gomez, who rolled his shot past goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes.
Germany midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger clattered the crossbar twice with shots as Bayern pushed for the goal which would have put the game beyond doubt.
“It wasn’t our best game, but we’re all glad we won it,” summed up Schweinsteiger.