Bayern Munich snatched a 2-1 victory at VfB Stuttgart on Saturday courtesy of a fine Matthijs de Ligt performance that put it back into top spot in the Bundesliga.
The Dutch defender drilled in Bayern’s opening goal in the 39th minute after also denying Stuttgart the lead two minutes earlier when he cleared the ball off the goalline.
Bayern, which faces Paris St Germain in the Champions League Round of 16 second leg on Wednesday following its 1-0 in the first leg, is on 49 points, ahead on goal difference of Borussia Dortmund, winners 2-1 over RB Leipzig on Friday.
Union Berlin is in third place on 44 following its goalless draw against Cologne.
Stuttgart powered to a strong start and caused some early panic in the Bayern defence with their high pressing game while also keeping goalkeeper Yann Sommer busy before the visitors gradually pushed back.
Despite controlling possession in the first half, Bayern struggled to break through and even the occasional Jamal Musiala solo failed to crack open the Stuttgart backline.
It was de Ligt who had the answer when he wrongfooted his marker and unleashed a shot through a crowded box with Stuttgart keeper Fabian Bredlow letting the ball slip through his hands.
Just two minutes earlier it was de Ligt who had come to the rescue at the other end, clearing a point-blank Konstantinos Mavropanos effort off the line.
With Stuttgart having run out of steam, Bayern struck again with Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting - fresh from extending his contract on Friday - finishing off a dazzling three-pass move that left their opponents’ defence frozen in place.
It was the Cameroon striker’s 10th league goal of the season.
Stuttgart grabbed a deserved goal with Juan Jose Perea in the 88th that injected some late drama in the game but the host ran out of time before they could find an equaliser.
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