Bayern Munich were unaffected by heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures as they beat hosts Hertha Berlin 1-0 to go 10 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga on Friday with their fifth consecutive league victory.
Winger Kingsley Coman scored the winner with a deflected shot from the edge of the box in the 21st minute with the ball flying over goalkeeper Rune Jarstein.
The Bavarians, leaving for sunny Qatar and the Club World Cup later on Friday, could have scored earlier, but their leading striker Robert Lewandowski, who had netted in the previous nine league games, saw his 12th minute penalty saved.
Bayern will face Egypt’s Al Ahly in the semifinals of the CWC as they look to win their sixth trophy in less than 10 months and match Barcelona’s tally from 2009.
“It will now be a good flight,” Bayern coach Hansi Flick said. “We wanted to leave for Qatar with a win.
“It was at times difficult and we had to overcome some phases where we did not have possession. But we defended our 1-0 lead at the end and so I am satisfied.”
Hertha had a golden chance to equalise a minute from the end when Matheus Cunha chipped the ball over keeper Manuel Neuer, but his effort rolled just wide of the goal.
Bayern are now on 48 points, while second-placed RB Leipzig, who travel to bottom side Schalke 04 on Saturday, have 38. Hertha are in 15th place on 17 points.
It was no easy task for Bayern at Hertha, who are now without a win in their last six league games but looked far sharper in coach Pal Dardai’s second game in charge.
Hertha’s Dodi Lukebakio came agonisingly close to scoring after three minutes only to be denied by goalkeeper Neuer with his foot. The visitors responded with a chance of their own as Leroy Sane’s effort was saved by Jarstein.
With the snowfall getting heavier the Hertha keeper brought Sane down in the box, but quickly made amends by picking the right corner to block Lewandowski’s 12th-minute spot kick, the first penalty miss by the Poland striker since January 2019.
Lewandowski, chasing Gerd Mueller’s 40 league goals in a season record from 1971-72, had scored in the previous nine consecutive league games to reach 24.
Almost 10 minutes later Thomas Mueller fed Coman for the winner as the German became the first player in the league this season with double digits for goals and assists with 10 apiece.