Joshua Kimmich's stunning 90th-minute equaliser spared Bayern Munich's blushes as the Bundesliga champions rescued a 1-1 draw at home to Koln on Tuesday.
Bayern had been on the verge of their first home league loss since last January before their captain took centre stage, though it was not enough to restore their six-point lead at the summit following RB Leipzig's 6-1 demolition of Schalke.
Ellyes Skhiri, who scored twice in Koln's remarkable 7-1 win over Werder Bremen on Saturday, put the Billy Goats ahead amid a purposeful opening.
Koln were under pressure for long periods thereafter, however, and they could not see the win out as Kimmich struck from distance at the end.
The visitors looked bright from the start and Skhiri capitalised on the first real opportunity in the fourth minute, tucking in at the back post after Julian Chabot flicked on Florian Kainz's corner.
Marvin Schwabe made a necessary block to deny Serge Gnabry 10 minutes later, but Bayern continued to look unconvincing defensively.
They were grateful to Yann Sommer just before the half-hour, the goalkeeper getting a vital hand to Kainz's squared pass with Denis Huseinbasic lurking for a tap-in.
Bayern finished the half on top, but again Schwabe spared Koln, pushing Leon Goretzka's ferocious volley away.
Matthijs de Ligt saw a long-range effort tipped over and Ryan Gravenberch shot agonisingly wide as Bayern – who replaced Gnabry with Kingsley Coman at half-time – began the second period well.
Leroy Sane then cut in from the right to test Schwabe, who later acrobatically nudged Thomas Muller's header over amid a desperate onslaught.
But there was only so much Schwabe could do, and stopping Kimmich's 30-yard piledriver was a step too far.
What does it mean? Bayern avoid defeat but draw offers Leipzig encouragement
There will have undoubtedly been a few curses thrown around in the Leipzig camp after Kimmich's brilliant equaliser, with Die Roten Bullen previously looking set to end the matchday just three points off the top.
Nevertheless, the reality is that this was still a good result for Leipzig and the chasing pack, and a bad one for Bayern. It is a four-point advantage now, and this championship could still slip from Bayern's grasp.
Julian Nagelsmann's Bayern recorded 1.45 expected goals to Koln's 0.81, and when you consider Kimmich's strike accounted for just 0.025 (which equates to a 2.5 per cent chance of scoring) and Ellyes' tap-in was 0.6, it is fair to say that on the balance of play Bayern were good value for at least a draw.
Chabot and Schwabe unfortunate
Koln cannot feel too down about the result – they would have won were it not for a frankly brilliant strike.
Had they ultimately been successful, Chabot and Schwabe would have been key. The goalkeeper of course made six saves, while his team-mate at centre-back seemed to be in the right place almost the whole game, making a match-high 10 clearances and winning all but one of his nine duels.
He was relatively lively in the first half, but Gnabry was wasteful in the final third of the pitch and found himself withdrawn at the break. Coman, his replacement, ended up tallying a joint match-high four key passes (level with Alphonso Davies).
Key Opta facts
– Bayern are undefeated in their last 10 games in the Bundesliga. Their last longer unbeaten streak was from October 4, 2020 to January 3, 2021, a run of 12 games.
– Skhiri scored after just three minutes and 13 seconds, the earliest goal for Koln in a 2022-23 Bundesliga game.
– Bayern attempted 855 passes, the highest total by any team in a Bundesliga game this season. Dayot Upamecano attempted a team-high 134 passes.
– Bayern have now scored in their last 48 Bundesliga home games, with Kimmich's moment that preserved that run giving the midfielder a third league goal of the campaign.
Bayern are at home again on Saturday as they welcome Eintracht Frankfurt to the Allianz Arena. Koln go to Schalke on Sunday.