Bayern Munich earned a crucial 3-1 away victory over Mainz to ensure that they are still hanging on to the coattails of leaders Dortmund ahead of the two sides' meeting next weekend.
Bastian Schweinsteiger opened the scoring in the early stages of the match before Thomas Mueller doubled the lead on 50 minutes.
Mario Gomez put the game to bed on 77 minutes before Sami Allagui scored a late consolation seven minutes later.
The away side settled into their stride early on and were a goal up after nine minutes.
Franck Ribery's cross expertly picked out Arjen Robben, who headed the ball across the six-yard box for Schweinsteiger to knock into an empty net for his third goal of the season.
Despite the Bavarians' impressive start, the home side slowly but surely began to drag themselves back into the game and could have equalised on 27 minutes.
Christian Fuchs played a terrific ball through to Andre Schuerrle who attempted to lob the ball over Thomas Kraft from the edge of the area. Unfortunately for the home faithful the ball drifted inches wide of the post.
Schuerrle was again the man causing problems for Bayern later in the half. Croatian youngster Petar Sliskovic did brilliantly down the wing before laying the ball off to the midfielder, who will join Bayer Leverkusen at the end of the season.
The 20-year-old hit a powerful effort from 12-yards but Kraft did very well to block the shot and make sure his side went into the break in front.
Bayern started the second half brightly and on 48 minutes should have scored a second. Ribery whipped in an excellent set-piece and an unmarked Schweinsteiger could not beat Heinz Mueller from four yards as the 'keeper parried the midfielder's weak effort.
However, the visitors only had to wait another two minutes for a second goal and it came courtesy of Mainz's failure to clear their lines with Nikolce Noveski guilty of being caught in possession in his own defensive third.
Robben was on hand to flick the loose ball into the direction of Mueller, who instinctively poked the ball past his namesake from 10 yards out.
Mainz were on the ropes and it was nearly three on the hour mark. Robben slipped a nice through ball into the direction of Mueller who could only hit the base of the post from 12 yards out.
The home side weren't completely out of the contest however and nearly pulled a goal back in the 67th minute.
Antoliy Tymoshchuk's failure to clear the danger saw the ball drop to Schuerrle's feet who saw his snapshot from 12 yards brilliantly saved by substitute 'keeper Hans-Jorge Butt.
Bayern continued to look very dangerous going forward with Robben causing all kinds of trouble for the Mainz backline. On 71 minutes, the Dutchman played a wonderful reversed pass into the feet of Mueller who saw his low effort tipped around the post again by the impressive Heinz Mueller.
The result was put beyond doubt on 77 minutes and it was only a matter of time before Mario Gomez got on the scoresheet.
Mueller did well to outpace the Mainz defence before laying a simple pass to Gomez who had the simple task of rolling the ball into the net from six-yards out for his 18th league goal of a fine season.
There was to be a consolation for Mainz on 84 minutes after some sloppy Bayern defending. Fuch's cross was headed into the net by Allagui from six-yards yards out despite Butt's best efforts to keep the ball out.
Mainz travel to Hoffenheim next weekend while Bayern entertain Dortmund in the highly-anticipated game of matchday 24.