BERLIN: Bayern Munich drew level on points with Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund after labouring to a 1-0 win at 10-man Hamburg, but have injury concerns about Thomas Mueller.
The Germany star hurt his hamstring in a 10-minute cameo off the bench, setting up Corentin Tolisso's goal before limping off, although Bayern suggested it is not serious.
Bayern face RB Leipzig in a mouth-watering doubler-header this week.
Third-placed Leipzig beat Stuttgart 1-0 and host Munich in the German Cup second round on Wednesday before the teams meet on Saturday in Munich in the Bundesliga.
Dortmund threw away a two-goal lead in their 2-2 draw at Eintracht Frankfurt, which leaves Peter Bosz's side winless in their last three games.
Here are five things we learned from the ninth round of German Bundesliga matches:
Bayern rotate and labour
Bayern laboured at strugglers Hamburg in Jupp Heynckes' third match in charge as the 72-year-old rotated his team to give chances to those previously benched.
Tolisso, Bayern's record signing who cost 41.5m euros, James Rodriguez, on loan from Real Madrid, and centre-back Niklas Suele came in.
Arturo Vidal and Rafinha also started as five changes were made from the side which beat Celtic 3-0 in the Champions League, but Bayern lacked tempo in Hamburg.
Tolisso admits his chances to play have dipped since Heynckes replaced Carlo Ancelotti, but he hopes to feature Leipzig double-header.
"For me personally, it's a bit more complicated. I have only played one of the three games since Jupp Heynckes came in, but I am not losing hope," said Tolisso.
"I'm going to give everything to try and show the coach that I should play as many matches as possible and that he can count on me."
Heynckes' star pooch
Jupp Heynckes' dog 'Cando' is becoming a celebrity.
The German sheepdog has stayed at the family home in Moenchengladbach while Bayern's 72-year-old head coach works in Munich.
Heynckes' daughter recently sent him a video of Cando to ease any parting woes.
Then on Saturday, a pitch-side advert during the match at Hamburg read "Dog-food Rinti - for Cando too".
The tongue-in-cheek ad was a topic in the post-match interview.
"He (Cando) is spoilt, but he would eat that in an emergency," grinned Heynckes.
Peter Bosz was fuming as Dortmund conceded two late goals in Saturday's frantic 2-2 draw at Frankfurt with their showdown at home to Bayern now two weeks away.
Injury forced the Dortmund coach into changes as Germany midfielder Julian Weigl was converted into a centre-back while Marc Bartra played at right back.
Bosz's 4-3-3 formation could not control Frankfurt, who had 20 shots on goal compared to Dortmund's 15, and the visitors were lucky to leave with a point.
"When you lead 2-0 and have your chances, you have to win the game," fumed Bosz, after Dortmund also lost 3-2 at home to Leipzig last weekend.
"We didn't play the sort of football we had imagined playing here."
Dortmund host Bayern on November 4 with both teams currently on 20 points with Munich second on goal difference.
Leipzig wait on trio
RB Leipzig earned a fourth straight league win against Stuttgart with match-winner Marcel Sabitzer declaring "we want to go off like a rocket" at home to Bayern on Wednesday.
However, Leipzig have injury concerns.
Portugese winger Bruma hurt his thigh in Saturday's warm-up and defender Stefan Ilsanker also has a knock.
Striker Yussuf Poulsen complained of bad headaches after a clash of heads late in the Stuttgart game.
There was some good news for Leipzig as Germany striker Timo Werner played an hour on his comeback from injury.
Kalou keeps cool
"He has some balls" admitted Hertha Berlin coach Pal Dardai after striker Salomon Kalou blasted a penalty over the bar, then cooly slotted home a second spot-kick just four minutes later at Freiburg.
With Hertha 1-0 down, Kalou skied his first effort on 77 minutes, then slotted the second penalty attempt when the video assistant referee spotted Davie Selke had been fouled.
"After the first penalty, I said we were jinxed. I couldn't watch the second, that took guts from Salomon Kalou," said Dardai.