Bayern defender Niklas Sule celebrates with teammates after scoring his side's opening goal during their German Bundesliga soccer match against Werder Bremen at the Allianz Arena in Munich on Saturday. Photo: Matthias Schrader/AP

BERLIN – Niklas Suele’s late goal saw Bayern Munich break a brave resistance from ten-man Werder Bremen to snatch a crucial 1-0 win and stay ahead of Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga title race.

Bayern toiled in the searing Bavarian sun against Bremen, eventually grinding out the victory to go four points clear at the top of the table overnight.

The win puts pressure on title rivals Dortmund, who need to win a tough away game in Freiburg on Sunday if they are to remain within a point of Bayern. 

Bremen held Bayern at bay for much of the game, but suffered a lethal blow just before the hour mark, when Milos Veljkovic was sent off for a second yellow card.

Chances came and went for Bayern as the clock ticked down, until Suele finally broke through with a deflected shot from the edge of the area 15 minutes from time.

“I had a couple of shots against Dortmund which were a bit NFL-like, so it was nice to score the winning goal today,” Suele told Sky.

Third-placed RB Leipzig, meanwhile, have one foot in next season’s Champions League after a 2-1 win over Borussia Moenchengladbach put them 10 points clear of their fifth-placed opponents.

Having scored a penalty in the first half, Marcel Halstenberg added another shortly after half-time to put Leipzig in full control.

Alassane Plea pulled one back out of the blue for Gladbach, but the home side ultimately missed the chance to break into the top four, and remain a point behind Eintracht Frankfurt, who play on Monday.

At the other end of the table, Stuttgart look doomed to a bottom-three finish after they suffered a humiliating 6-0 thrashing by fellow strugglers Augsburg.

Augsburg obliterated their relegation rivals with a delightful display of attacking football. Goals from Rani Khedira, Andre Hahn and Philipp Max saw them establish a 3-0 lead before the half-hour mark.

Max added another in the second half, and a Marco Richter double completed a disastrous display for Stuttgart and brought beleaguered coach Markus Weinzierl to the brink of the sack. 

“It isn’t my decision, but I didn’t make a good case for myself today,” said Weinzierl when asked about his future.

Augsburg’s win lifts them ten points clear of the relegation play-off place, and also confirms survival for Mainz, who beat local rivals Fortuna Duesseldorf 3-1.

Jean-Philippe Mateta put Mainz into the lead after just 36 seconds, but Dodi Lukebakio levelled the scores with his second goal in two games.

Lukebakio later missed a penalty, and Mainz took advantage of the let-off. They promptly restored the lead through Karim Onisiwo, before Mateta sealed the win a few minutes from time.

Elsewhere, Bayer Leverkusen kept themselves in the race for Europe with a 2-0 win over Nuremberg.

Lucas Alario’s 61st-minute header just cleared the goalline, before Kevin Volland struck late to decide a nervy game in Leverkusen’s favour.

AFP