An Arjen Robben goal in the 69th minute was enough to decide the Bavarian derby in favour of Bayern Munich and take them to within three points of Borussia Dortmund at the top of the Bundesliga.
The Dutchman punished Nurnberg midway through the second half to give Jupp Heynckes’s side the win they were looking for to increase the pressure on Dortmund at the top.
Nurnberg’s fourth defeat in a row means they slip to within three points of the relegation zone with six games of the season remaining.
Freiburg increased the pressure on their former coach Robin Dutt with a 2-0 win at Bayer Leverkusen.
Julian Schuster and Daniel Caligiuri scored the goals for the strugglers, who have now picked up 13 points from their last five games.
Leverkusen remain in sixth, but this latest defeat could well be Dutt’s last as the fans made their feelings clear at the end of another disappointing match for last season’s runners-up.
Hamburg moved out of the bottom three thanks to a 1-0 away victory over last-placed Kaiserslautern, who are now 10 points adrift of safety with six games of the season remaining.
Marcell Jansen scored the only goal of the game in the 28th minute as the northern Germany side reversed their slide down the table, leaving the Red Devils with a mountain to climb to avoid relegation to the second division.
Augsburg moved above Cologne with a 2-1 win in a tense relegation battle in Bavaria.
Ja-Cheol Koo put Augsburg in front only for Lukas Podolski to level from the penalty spot.
However, Nando Rafael restored Augsburg’s advantage from the spot just before half time and Jos Luhukay’s side held on for their eighth home game without defeat and their sixth game in a row unbeaten.
Cologne, meanwhile, slip into the bottom three for the first time this season with coach Stale Solbakken’s job now on the line.