Muller, Thiago bring Bayern closer to title with narrow win vs. Gladbach
Thomas Muller celebrated his 250th Bundesliga appearance with the decisive goal as Bayern Munich moved significantly closer to a fifth consecutive league title, opening up a massive 13-point advantage over RB Leipzig with a workmanlike 1-0 away victory vs. Borussia Monchengladbach.
Their 26th Bundesliga title since 1963 looks all the more likely as Muller doubled his paltry tally for the season with his 93rd career league goal. If he's back in scoring form, surely the Treble is in the bag for the Bavarians come the end of the season.
Bayern wobbled late on after failing to kill off a Gladbach side that were in action late on Thursday in the Europa League.
Manager rating out of 10
8 -- Carlo Ancelotti selected Bayern's oldest Bundesliga starting XI since March 2006 as he marches inexorably to the title in his debut season.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Manuel Neuer, 7 -- Easily secured his fourth Bundesliga clean sheet in a row. Apart from a routine save from Thorgan Hazard, Neuer was barely tested as Gladbach were mostly limited to long-range shots before a late rally.
DF David Alaba, 7 -- Hardly tested defensively and injected plenty of pace and intent on the left in tandem with Franck Ribery.
DF Mats Hummels, 7 -- Went close to scoring from a header and enjoyed a leisurely game until Gladbach perked up late on.
DF Javi Martinez, 7 -- Almost turned the ball into his own net late on and followed up by cleverly fouling Raffael -- picking up his fifth booking of the season. This means Bayern's record signing will be suspended for the next Bundesliga game and enjoy a couple of weeks off due to the international break.
DF Philipp Lahm, 6 -- Some very uncharacteristic heavy touches in the first half, interspersed with the usual neat combo work with Arjen Robben on the right.
MF Xabi Alonso, 7 -- Like Lahm, playing his last ever season. Alonso impressed with a 95 percent pass completion, but like his compatriot Martinez will miss Bayern's home game against Augsburg on their return from the international break, showing all his experience to pick up his fifth caution to book an extended holiday.
MF Thiago, 9 -- The best of the Bayern bunch once again, strutting his stuff elegantly in midfield. Laid on the only goal with a sublime assist, the highlight of his 142 touches of the ball. Also showed he's not too suave and sophisticated to do the dirty work in the first half, producing a brilliant saving tackle in his own box to deny Jonas Hofmann a first-half chance.
MF Franck Ribery, 7 -- Buzzed brightly in the first half before fading after the break, but it's fair to say the winger didn't agree with his substitution as he left the field shaking his head.
MF Arjen Robben, 7 -- Robben tested Yann Sommer with a rasping drive after only 40 seconds and rattled the crossbar shortly before the break with his trademark move. Substituted for the fresh legs of Renato Sanches late on, showing his frustration with a very awkward slap of the hand with the trainer.
MF Thomas Muller, 7 -- Celebrated his milestone with another crucial winner and a typically cool finish past the previously unbeatable Sommer. Bayern will hope it's a real confidence booster with Madrid lying in wait in the Champions League.
FW Robert Lewandowski, 6 -- Denied by Sommer midway through the first half and again from the rebound after Robben's drive, which shook the crossbar. Also missed a sitter just before Muller made the breakthrough. Has still never scored for Bayern against Gladbach.
MF Kingsley Coman, NR -- The youngster replaced his fellow Frenchman Ribery but had little influence on the game.
MF Joshua Kimmich, NR -- Had to make do with a place on the bench despite Arturo Vidal's suspension, but came on for the tiring Alonso on 77 minutes as Bayern held onto their narrow advantage.
MF Renato Sanches, NR -- Golden Boy Sanches replaced Robben and didn't help alleviate a nervy end to the game.
Mark Lovell covers Bayern Munich for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @LovellLowdown.