BERLIN: Corentin Tolisso got the winner as defending Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich squeezed past 10-man Hamburg 1-0 to draw level with Borussia Dortmund at the top of the table on Saturday.
Both sides have 20 points, but goal difference keeps the Bavarians second behind Dortmund, who earlier threw away a two-goal lead in a 2-2 draw at Eintracht Frankfurt.
"It was a very important match," said Tolisso in Hamburg.
"We had seen Dortmund's result and knew we had the opportunity to come back at them.
"But it was a very complicated match, we could not control things and play our football as usual.
"In the second half, they defended very deep, so we moved the ball from right to left, because we knew it was going to happen.
"But anyway, we came here to win and get near to Dortmund."
Hamburg played for 50 minutes with 10 men after defender Gideon Jung was shown a straight red card for scything down Kingsley Coman.
Bayern's new coach Jupp Heynckes, back for a fourth stint in charge after Carlo Ancelotti was sacked, rested several stars for next week's double-header against RB Leipzig -- on Wednesday in the German Cup and next Saturday in the league.
Captain Thomas Mueller came on for the start of the second half, set up Tolisso for the winning goal but went off after 55 minutes with a thigh injury.
Hamburg, who are already preparing for another relegation battle, pushed for an equaliser, but Bayern deservedly won as Tolisso and Thiago Alcantara hit the woodwork.
Earlier, Dortmund were left fuming in Frankfurt after surrendering a two-goal lead as another mistake by goalkeeper Roman Burki triggered the hosts' fightback.
Dortmund are winless in their last three games after also losing 3-2 at home to RB Leipzig last Saturday in the Bundesliga and drawing 1-1 at Cypriot side APOEL on Tuesday in the Champions League.
On Friday, Dortmund's Swiss shot-stopper Burki extended his contract until 2021.
It was a vote of confidence by the club after he endured sharp criticism for a mistake which allowed APOEL to take a shock lead in the Champions League draw.
Before kick-off, sporting director Michael Zorc told Sky that Burki has Dortmund's full backing, but their goalkeeper gave away the penalty in Frankfurt which allowed Eintracht back in the game.
Goals by Turkey international Nuri Sahin and winger Maximilian Philipp either side of the break put Dortmund 2-0 up, but Eintracht roared back with two goals in four second-half minutes.
French striker Sebastien Haller slotted home a penalty on 64 minutes -- after Burki had brought down Ante Rebic -- before midfielder Marius Wolf levelled shortly after.
"That shouldn't happen, if you lead 2-0 you shouldn't allow an open game," said Sahin.
Dortmund gave a Bundesliga debut to 17-year-old ex-Manchester City midfielder Jadon Sancho, who was released by England from the Under-17 World Cup in India.
Frankfurt's point could have come at a price as USA wide man Timothy Chandler limped off with a knee injury on 37 minutes.
RB Leipzig followed their midweek Champions League victory over Porto with a 1-0 win at VfB Stuttgart.
Midfielder Marcel Sabitzer netted the winner midway through the first half when his shot looped over Stuttgart's Germany goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler.
Meanwhile, Bayer Leverkusen are ninth after a stunning 5-1 romp at Borussia Moenchengladbach.
US international Fabian Johnson gave Gladbach a seventh-minute lead after meeting Thorgan Hazard's cross at the far post.
However, Leverkusen roared back with five second-half goals, four of which came in a dazzling 21-minute spell, through Sven Bender, Leon Bailey, Julian Brandt, Kevin Volland and Joel Pohjanpalo.
Michael Gregoritsch's long-range shot gave Augsburg a first-half lead at home against Hanover 96, but substitute Niclas Fuellkrug scored two second-half goals as the visitors came back to win 2-1.