Bayern Munich extended their lead to eight points clear at the top of the Bundesliga as their make-shift side drew 1-1 at ten-man Nuremberg on Saturday in the 185th Bavarian derby.
Although Bayern were missing injured star wingers Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben, coach Jupp Heynckes opted to leave Spain's Javi Martinez and Germany defenders Philipp Lahm and Holger Badstuber on the bench.
With Bayern facing a crucial Champions League clash at Valencia on Tuesday, Heynckes was obviously thinking ahead to Europe and accepted the draw.
"We can live with 1-1, I think it's not the end of the world," he said.
"We started well and dominated, but failed to get the second or third goal.
"In the second-half we experienced a very different Nuremberg, one which was committed to playing forward more.
"Because of the second-half, we have to accept only taking a point."
Bayern needed just three minutes to take the lead as Croatia striker Mandzukic pounced on a Toni Kroos pass and tapped home from close range.
Nuremberg got back on level terms when ex-Munich midfielder Markus Feulner, who spent six years at Bayern as a youth player, smashed in his long-range shot on 46 minutes to level.
The hosts were reduced to 10 men when midfielder Timo Gebhart was shown a second yellow card for elbowing Germany star Bastian Schweinsteiger in the face with 14 minutes left.
But Nuremberg hung on to claim a point which moved them up to 14th in the league.
Second-placed Schalke can reduce Bayern's lead if they win at Bayer Leverkusen later while Eintracht Frankfurt stayed up with the league leaders in third by claiming a 4-2 win at bottom side Augsburg.
There were three goals in the first 15 minutes at Dortmund as hosts Borussia ran out 3-1 wins over second-from-bottom Greuther Fuerth.
After Borussia's Poland striker Robert Lewandowski netted slotted home after just three minutes, Fuerth's Zoltan Stieber levelled just two minutes later before Lewandowski converted a 15th-minute penalty.
Germany midfielder Mario Goetze made it 3-1 at half-time with a sublime goal on 42 minutes when he drew Fuerth goalkeeper Max Gruen to keep the defending champions fourth.
A second-half own goal by Dutch defender Roel Brouwers handed VfB Stuttgart a 2-1 win at Borussia Moenchengladbach.
Hamburg enjoyed a 1-0 win at home to Mainz as South Korea striker Son Heung-Min scored the contentious winner in the 63 minutes after being set up by a pass from midfielder Maximilian Beister.
Wolfsburg, 16th and amongst the relegation places, are at Hoffenheim on Sunday with ex-Bremen general manager Klaus Allofs having been installed as sports director after 13 years at Werder.
Caretaker coach Lorenz-Guenther Koestner is set to stay on as coach and Allofs has been tasked with keeping the 2009 champions up, while Werder Bremen host Fortuna Duesseldorf.