Berlin, March 20 (IANS) Thomas Mueller’s lone goal helped front-runners Bayern Munich to beat Borussia Monchengladbach 1-0 and Schalke 04 overcame FC Mainz 1-0 in their respective Bundesliga matches.
Bayern Munich increased their advantage to 13 points atop the standings of the German top division after securing their 19th win of the season, and the fourth in a row, reports Xinhua news agency.
The German giants controlled the proceedings from the kick-off against passive Borussia Monchengladbach, who focussed on their defence.
However, Bayern had to wait just before the break to work out their first promising opportunity as Arjen Robben unleashed a curl shot from the edge of the box, which rattled the right post.
Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski almost headed in the rebound but Monchengladbach goalkeeper Yann Sommer defused the effort with a reflex save from close range.
After the restart, Bayern started where they left off whereas Monchengladbach’s bulwark was able to stand firm against the furious attacks.
Nevertheless, the visitors eventually broke the deadlock with 63 minutes into the encounter as Thiago Alcantara’s pass into path allowed Thomas Mueller to beat onrushing Sommer from inside the box.
Monchengladbach tried to respond but they failed to seriously threat Bayern’s defence in the closing period.
Bayern have made a big step towards defending their title as they sit 13 points ahead of second placed Leipzig. Monchengladbach lost their 11th game of the season to slip to the 10th place.
Elsewhere, Schalke reaped their second straight win after edging Mainz 1-0 in an away encounter.
Both sides staged a contested first half, which ended goalless. Schalke controlled the ball but were unable to pose threat to the well organised Mainz defence.
Mainz created the better chances but neither Jhon Cordoba nor Danny Latza were able to slot past Schalke goalkeeper Ralf Faehrmann.
Schalke ensured a bright start to the second half when Sead Kolasinac exchanged passes with Guido Burgstaller before beating Mainz custodian Jonas Loessl with 50 minutes played.
Mainz increased the pressure but Pablo De Blasis and Yoshinori Muto failed to make the most of their chances. Meanwhile, Schalke should have doubled the lead in the closing period but for all that Nabil Bentaleb squandered a one-on-one.
With this back-to-back victory, Schalke moved to the ninth place to sit just four points away from the European spots.
Mainz suffered their second straight defeat to stay at the 12th position on the Bundesliga standings.