Bayern Munich cut Borussia Dortmund’s lead at the top of the Bundesliga table to just two points on Saturday with a 2-1 away win 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.
Dortmund’s England international Jadon Sancho, 18, scored twice and could have finished with four goals in an outstanding display, only for Kalou to snatch a point by converting the late penalty after his first-half goal.
Dortmund’s next home 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.
It was all one-way traffic in the first-half in Mainz as Bayern dominated with Joshua Kimmich hitting the woodwork on 27 minutes, Thiago had a goal disallowed for an offside.
The Mainz defence finally yielded when Kimmich sent the ball into the box and Goretzka volleyed home six minutes before half-time as it stayed 1-0 at the break.
Just as it looked like Bayern were going to pull away, Mainz drew level thanks to sloppy defending.
Bayern’s goalkeeper and captain Manuel Neuer was furious after Serge Gnabry failed to close down a cross by Daniel Brosinki and Jean-Paul Boetius stole a yard on Kimmich to tap home with a first-time shot on 48 minutes.
Having been denied a first-half goal, Thiago hit the winner 28 minutes from time with a superb strike, sliding in to tap home Robert Lewandowski’s low cross after burly midfielder Renato Sanches won possession.
The win lifts Bayern to second, but Werder Bremen can move above them if they beat Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday.
Kalou punishes Dortmund
In Dortmund, Sancho provided the hosts’ goals as Paco Alcacer, who has scored seven times in four league games, was again sidelined by a thigh injury.
The English teenager caught the eye with two well-taken goals after having had a third, scored with an audacious backheel chip, ruled out for offside and his early shot was cleared off the line.
Sancho finally got on the scoresheet by firing from a tight angle after a great pass from Mario Goetze on 27 minutes.
However, Hertha, who beat Bayern 2-0 four weeks ago, proved 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 work.
Left-back Achraf Hakimi, 19, 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 in the dying stages 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 night thanks to a Nils Petersen penalty and goals by Luca Waldsmicht and Luca Hoeler.