Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have both been made to work hard for victories but will go into next week's Bundesliga table-topper on the back of wins.
Leroy Sane ended 71 minutes of frustration for Bayern against second-bottom Arminia Bielefeld in a 1-0 win on Saturday after Dortmund had come from behind to triumph 3-1 at Wolfsburg, with Erling Haaland getting the clincher on his return from injury.
Bayern were shocked at Augsburg last time and despite a midweek Champions League win at Dynamo Kiev began in low-key fashion.
Perhaps that was understandable given their coronavirus problems - including an infection for Joshua Kimmich - and the shadow of Thursday's angry general meeting, when fans booed executives over a sponsorship deal with Qatar Airlines.
Coronavirus restrictions limiting Munich's 75,000-seat stadium to a small number of socially distanced fans did little for the atmosphere, though things could have perked up with an early goal.
Bayern's pressure finally told when Jamal Musiala, coming off the bench on his return from coronavirus quarantine, set up Sane to blast home from the edge of the box.
Munich top the table by a point but visit Dortmund next week who will be on a high after after Emre Can's penalty and Donyell Malen cancelled Wout Weghorst's early opener for Wolfsburg before Haaland made his entrance.
"Erling is naturally a player who can make the difference," Dortmund coach Marco Rose said. "Erling gives you energy. Erling even wanted to play longer. Then he comes in and scores his goal.
"That's the difference he makes. We're happy he's there again."
Haaland had not played since the middle of last month due to a hip injury but converted a back-post cross less than 10 minutes after his introduction as a substitute.
His simple 81st minute finish was his 10th goal of the season and 50th in as many league games for Dortmund.
Elsewhere Cologne won the Rhine derby 4-1 over Borussia Monchengladbach in a mid-table match played in front of around 50,000 fans despite other areas of Germany limiting attendances amid rising coronavirus infections.
Third-placed Freiburg lost 2-1 at Bochum to lose contact at the top, Hoffenheim won a thriller 6-3 at bottom club Greuther Fuerth and Augsburg rescued a 1-1 draw at Hertha Berlin with a 97th minute equaliser.
Australian Associated Press
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