Borussia Dortmund have extended their lead at the top of the Bundesliga table to nine points in their last game before the winter break, where goals from Jadon Sancho and Marco Reus helped topple a second placed Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Both teams were starved of opportunities in the first half and it looked like they'd go into the break on level terms, but a quick counter-attack allowed Sancho to show his magic in the final third, eventually firing a shot past an in-form Yann Sommer.
Before the hosts could go into the break, however, a moment of controversy allowed Gladbach back into the match. Christoph Kramer's misdirected header rebounded off his own hands, which offered up a near open goal that the midfielder scored, somehow escaping a review from VAR.
Marco Reus put his side back in front after the break with a simple finish which was made possible thanks to the inch-perfect pass from Mario Götze, who ended up being one of the club's best players after coming on to replace the injured Paco Alcácer.
Borussia Dortmund's captain was denied a second by the width of the post soon after, but the game eventually fizzled out with very few chances at either end and the hosts ensured they ended the Hinrunde with three points in the bag.
Key Talking Point
Lucien Favre's side took their sweet time getting a foothold in the game. Dortmund looked like they were overly cautious due to Gladbach's attacking threat, which was understandable given the fact that Julian Weigl was filling in at centre back.
But Borussia Dortmund's tentative approach play only served to decrease their confidence, increase Gladbach's, and also produce an uneasy tension within the stands.
The Black and Yellows have put in their best performances this season when they go balls to the wall and blitz teams as quickly as possible, keeping their opposition pegged back and on the back foot, but they were reluctant to that in large parts on Friday.
Starting XI: Bürki (6); Piszczek (6), Weigl (7), Toprak (6), Hakimi (7); Witsel (7), Delaney (6), Sancho (8*), Reus (7), Guerreiro (7); Alcácer (7).
Substitutes: Götze (8) Wolf (N/A) Bruun Larsen (N/A).
Sometimes, it's easy to question if Jadon Sancho is actually a human being. The 18-year-old has only really been a regular part of Dortmund's squad this season, but he's now among the most exciting teenagers in Europe.
Now that Mbappe is 20 Sancho is the best teenager in the world don't @ me— Lars Pollmann (@LarsPollmann) December 21, 2018
Sancho scored his seventh goal of the season on Friday night to put the Black and Yellows in front in the first half, taking his combined tally of goals and assists to 18 heading into the winter break.
Perhaps most important was that Sancho's goal came at a time when the game had become painfully flat, and it was the England international's individual spark which proved to be the one thing that Borussia Mönchengladbach couldn't contain.
Considering he was partnering Julian Weigl - a technical midfielder - in the heart of their defence, fans might have expected a little bit more from the veteran Ömer Toprak.
The Turkey international covered Weigl's forays into Gladbach's half very well and he was aware of where the danger could come from, but when the Foals inevitably did attack those areas he could do very little to stop them.
As harsh as this is on Toprak, Dieter Hecking's side had their best opportunities when isolating the defender, while they couldn't seem to exploit Weigl's inexperience in a back four.
Starting XI: Sommer (8); Johnson (6), Bayer (6), Strobl (6), Wendt (6); Neuhaus (5), Kramer (7) Zakaria (7), Herrmann (6); Pléa (7), Hazard (7).
Substitutes: Hofmann (6) Traoré (6) Cuisance (N/A).
Both Dortmund and Gladbach will now enjoy a well-deserved break from competitive football in Germany, as Bundesliga action gets ready for the Winterpause where it will hibernate for the next month following this weekend's round of games.
When league football returns on January 19 - Bayern Munich kick off against TSG Hoffenheim a day earlier, on the Friday - Borussia Dortmund will travel to RB Leipzig, while Borussia Mönchengladbach are away to Bayer Leverkusen.