Bayern Munich can clinch the Bundesliga title on Tuesday with a record seven games to spare despite leaving it late to defeat Mainz.
The champions could have clinched the crown on Saturday had Schalke and Borussia Dortmund dropped points, but both sides won.
Instead, victory at Hertha Berlin will see them beat last season’s record of winning with six games left.
Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mario Gotze got their late goals at Mainz.
For 82 minutes, it looked like their chance to win it in record time might be gone but Schweinsteiger headed home Xherdan Shaqiri’s cross to put them ahead. Franck Ribery then rounded goalkeeper Loris Karius before passing to Gotze to seal it.
The German giants, who have now won 18 Bundesliga games in a row and not lost in 51 league matches, can clinch their 24th league title during the week.
Coach Pep Guardiola, who has not lost a league match since being hired in the summer, said: “We’ve played very good opponents and we’ve won. We’ve extended our record to 18 wins on the trot. That’s the result of a lot of hard work.
“I’m just pleased about winning today against one of the toughest teams we’ll face this season. We only need one more win now. It’s in our own hands. We can be champions in the capital on Tuesday.”
Schweinsteiger said: “You always have to work hard for victory here in Mainz. They’re very aggressive and they press high up the field. The first half wasn’t easy, but they were tired towards the end. We’re not really concerned about when we win the title.”
Bayern would have won the title on Saturday had Borussia Dortmund not overcome Hannover 3-0, and Schalke beaten bottom club Eintracht Braunschweig 3-1.
Mats Hummels, Robert Lewandowski – who is joining Bayern in the summer – and Marco Reus scored Dortmund’s goals.
Schalke won thanks to goals from Leon Goretzka, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Adam Szalai. Benjamin Kessel scored for the visitors.