Bayern Munich failed to produce a second-half winner against a gutsy Freiburg as they were held to a 1-1 draw that allowed Borussia Dortmund to move two points clear at the top of the Bundesliga.
Lucas Holer put the hosts in front after just three minutes but Robert Lewandowski soon got the champions back on level terms with his 199th Bundesliga goal.
The visitors began to dominate but Freiburg stood firm, with a fantastic defensive performance and a series of saves from Alexander Schwolow denying Bayern, who also hit the post late on through Leon Goretzka.
Dortmund's win over Wolfsburg ensured they moved two points clear of Bayern at the top of the table ahead of the two clubs meeting in next weekend's Der Klassiker.
Freiburg made an excellent start and were rewarded almost instantly when Christian Gunter delivered a wonderful cross from the left which Holer met and headed into the far corner.
Mike Frantz dragged a shot wide when he could have done better before Freiburg had another great chance to double their lead. Gunter went on a brilliant run and fed Janik Haberer, and he elected to pull the ball back for Franz, whose shot beat Sven Ulreich but was blocked heroically on the line by a combination of Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng.
The miss proved costly. After Freiburg failed to clear their lines from a corner, Goretzka chipped the ball to Lewandowski, who controlled the ball, pivoted and volleyed it left-footed into the back of the net in the 22nd minute.
After the restart, Bayern came out with more intensity, with Kingsley Coman looking threatening down the left but they were still vulnerable at the other end, with Haberer sending a shot wide after robbing Joshua Kimmich in possession.
Schwolow had to make two saves in quick possession, first to block Boateng’s deflected drive, then to deny James Rodriguez’s curling effort. A brilliant turn of pace from Serge Gnabry saw him burst through the defence but again Schwolow was there to beat the ball away.
The 26-year-old goalkeeper’s most impressive save yet came with a little over 10 minutes left on the clock as he denied Lewandowski brilliantly after yet more impressive work from Gnabry.
Lewandowski still had a brilliant chance to win it in stoppage-time but mistimed his header, and there was a final flourish as Goretzka's header crashed against the woodwork, but Bayern could not force a winner.
What does it mean? Blow to Bayern's title bid
Bayern will see this as two costly points dropped and Paco Alcacer's late double for Dortmund sees the Bavarian side slip to second place in the Bundesliga as they prepare to host their title rivals next week.
Schwolow shows what he can do
Every Freiburg fan can be proud of the robust team performance their side put in, but their goalkeeper was certainly the difference between the two clubs as he made a string of second-half saves to keep the hosts on level terms.
Muller flatters to deceive
Bayern took control of the game when Thomas Muller, captain for the day, was replaced by Gnabry just after the start of the second half. Until then, Lewandowski cut a solitary figure up top and it is no coincidence that he had more chances after Muller was hooked by Niko Kovac.
Key Opta stats:
- Holer is the first Freiburg player to score in both games of a Bundesliga season against Bayern.
- Bayern have scored 10 Bundesliga goals from corners this season, more than any other team in the league.
- Freiburg are one of only two teams, along with Bayern, who Kovac has never beaten in the Bundesliga (two losses in 2016-2017, four draws since then).
- Lewandowski has scored 14 goals in as many Bundesliga games against Freiburg, more than any other Bundesliga player.
- Freiburg have lost just one of their last eight Bundesliga matches.
Bayern Munich turn their attention to a DFB-Pokal quarter-final against Heidenheim in midweek before their mouth-watering home game against title rivals Dortmund, which may well decide where the Bundesliga title is heading. Freiburg kick off the next round of Bundesliga fixtures with a trip to Mainz on Friday evening (Saturday morning AEDT).