An Arjen Robben goal in the 69th minute was enough to decide the Bavarian derby 1-0 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.
Bayern face a title six-pointer in Dortmund next Saturday.
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, moving clear of the relegation zone as a result.
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 Bundesliga 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.
Their new coach Krassimir Balakov has now lost both of his games in charge with Kaiserslautern's last league win now 19 games ago.
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 match 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.
Mainz earned themselves a bit of breathing space at the bottom of the table thanks to an emphatic 3-0 win over out-of-sorts Werder Bremen at the Weser Stadion.
Adam Szalai gave Thomas Tuchel's side the lead in the 19th minute and a brace from Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting sealing a deserved win.
The win takes Mainz up to 10th, five points clear of the bottom three, while Bremen slip to seventh with a place in Europe next season now hanging in the balance.
Hertha Berlin's 3-1 win over Mainz last week proved to be a false dawn for the strugglers as they were crushed 4-1 at home by Wolfsburg to remain in the bottom two.
Levan Kobiashvili put the home team in front in the 13th minute and it looked like their coach Otto Rehhagel had indeed found the secret to turn Hertha's season around, but it was not to be.
An own goal from Christoph Janker and a Patrick Helmes strike gave the Wolves a half-time lead before Mario Mandzukic and Helmes again sealed the win for Felix Magath's side.