Substitute Julian Brandt netted both goals on Friday as Borussia Dortmund ground out a 2-0 win at VfB Stuttgart to trim Bayern Munich’s lead in the Bundesliga, but lost three players to injuries.
Midfielders Giovanni Reyna and Mahmoud Dahoud suffered first-half injuries while defender Mats Hummels did not come out for the second half.
Reyna was injured after just 54 seconds but his replacement Brandt gave Dortmund the lead on 12 minutes, then smashed in a second after the break.
The away win for second-placed Dortmund trims Bayern’s lead to six points.
However, the runaway leaders can reopen the gap and inch towards a 10th straight league title at home to Augsburg in Saturday’s Bavarian derby.
Stuttgart are hovering just a point above the bottom three with five games left.
The match at rain-lashed Stuttgart had barely kicked off when Reyna clutched his right hamstring and the 19-year-old trudged off wiping away tears.
It is the latest setback for the US international in an injury-ravaged season that has seen him make just 10 league appearances.
His replacement Brandt capitalised with the opening goal after Erling Haaland opened up the Stuttgart defence.
The visitors had a huge let-off when Omar Marmoush chipped over Dortmund goalkeeper Gregor Kobel but his shot flew over the crossbar.
Dortmund’s luck with injuries did not improve.
Dahoud went off after clutching his shoulder following a challenge while Hummels had to be replaced at the break with a leg injury.
Brandt grabbed his second with 19 minutes left by curling a ferocious shot just out of Stuttgart goalkeeper Florian Mueller’s reach.
Kobel pulled off a superb late save to palm away a shot by Stuttgart defender Borna Sosa, who then hit the crossbar as the hosts pushed for a goal while Haaland had a late goal ruled offside.
This is the fifth straight league game in which Haaland had failed to score – his longest dry spell for Dortmund – amid speculation he will leave at the end of the season.