Bundesliga top scorer Robert Lewandowski grabbed his 15th goal of the season to help nervous Bayern Munich beat bottom club Cologne 1-0 on Wednesday and go nine points clear at the top of the Bundesliga.
On the day when winger Franck Ribery became Bayern's leading foreign player with his 366th appearance in all competitions, the German champions struggled to hit top form but still did enough to climb to 38 points.
They are nine ahead of Schalke 04, who beat Augsburg 3-2 and stretched their unbeaten run to 10 league games.
In a completely one-sided first half the Bavarians had several good chances with Thomas Mueller and Lewandowski, but struggled with their finish.
The Poland forward finally broke the deadlock on the hour when Mueller headed on a Jerome Boateng chip and Lewandowski volleyed in from close range.
Defender Boateng then delivered another perfect cross for Kingsley Coman but the Frenchman's header bounced off the crossbar as the Bavarians remained nervous, allowing Cologne some late chances.
Schalke squandered a two-goal lead but managed to beat Augsburg courtesy of Daniel Caligiuri's penalty to go second on 29, a point ahead of RB Leipzig, who dropped to third following Tuesday's 1-1 draw at VfL Wolfsburg.
Borussia Dortmund, also on Tuesday, notched their first league win since September in new coach Peter Stoeger's debut to climb up to sixth.
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