Borussia Dortmund consolidated third place in the Bundesliga by scraping past relegation-threatened Ingolstadt 1-0 on Friday.
Dortmund opened a four-point gap in the last place for automatic Champions League qualification ahead of Hoffenheim, yet to play in the 25th round.
Dortmund stretched its unbeaten run at home to 33 games in the league.
"It wasn't our best game," coach Thomas Tuchel said. "Early tomorrow it'll feel like a great victory."
Ingolstadt remained seven points from safety and could finish the weekend further adrift.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang claimed his league-leading 23rd goal of the season in the 14th minute, sweeping the ball in off Marcel Schmelzer's cross.Schmelzer, the Dortmund captain, was played through on the left by a fine ball from Shinji Kagawa, celebrating his 28th birthday.
Ingolstadt didn't buckle, however. The visitor was denied a first-half equalizer by several outstanding saves from Roman Buerki, while forward Dario Lezcano was posing problems for the Dortmund defense.
Matthew Leckie should have scored after the break when gifted an opportunity by Matthias Ginter but the Ingolstadt striker fired over with only Buerki to beat, and the Dortmund 'keeper was fortunate not to concede a penalty for bringing down Lezcano.
Ingolstadt kept pushing but missed several good opportunities to punish a disappointing Dortmund performance.
"It's not just bad luck, but we're missing the composure to convert our chances," Ingolstadt coach Maik Walpurgis said.