Honda's Marc Marquez hit the summit of the MotoGP standings after taking advantage of the absence of both Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo to win at Sachsenring.
Title rivals Pedrosa and Lorenzo were both ruled out of the race after practice crashes, leaving Marquez to come through for the second win of his debut season.
Cal Crutchlow came home just one and a half seconds down to take second place for Tech 3 Yamaha - but his wait to become the first British winner in the premier class since Barry Sheene in 1981 nevertheless goes on.
Lorenzo's Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi took third ahead of LCR Honda's Stefan Bradl, with Honda Gresini's Alvaro Bautista fifth and Britain's Bradley Smith sixth on the second Tech 3 Yamaha.
"We did a very good race. This victory is so important for the championship" - Marc Marquez
Marquez now leads the championship by two points from Pedrosa, with Lorenzo nine further back. Crutchlow is not out of the championship picture as he sits just 31 points behind Marquez.
Marquez failed to make the most of his pole position start and found himself fourth in the early running as Rossi led into turn one.
Crutchlow, too, made a poor start and ran down in fifth early on, but both men were soon on the move.
By lap six Marquez was back in front after passing Aleix Espargaro, Rossi and Bradl, who nevertheless delighted the German crowd by briefly leading his home race.
Rossi dispatched Bradl for third on lap nine but Crutchlow followed in his wheeltracks and was soon harassing the Italian for second place, which he duly took on lap 16 with a late dive into turn 11.
That left the Briton with a clear run at Marquez just two seconds down the road, but the rookie Spaniard was in no mood to let his advantage slip and held station to the flag.
"We did a very good race," Marquez told BBC Sport. "This victory is so important for the championship.
"It's a second victory but in Austin [the scene of his first MotoGP win] I was a little bit happier, because here without Dani and Jorge on the track it's a little bit different.
"We hope for a great recovery for them because with them on the track the show is different."
Crutchlow, riding in pain after also suffering a heavy fall in practice, was less charitable to Pedrosa and Lorenzo, insisting their absence had no bearing on the final result.
"Even if Dani and Jorge were here I think this would have been the result, I really do, because our pace was unbelievable.
"Even if Dani and Jorge were here I think this would have been the result, I really do" - Cal Crutchlow
"I think we made a massive step over three years here. This was my worst result in MotoGP in 2011, I didn't have such a great race last year, and today to be closing on Marc like that I was really, really pleased.
"I gave my all in the physical condition I was in. I can go away from here happy."
Double world champion Lorenzo was ruled out of today's race after a crash on Friday caused fresh damage to the collarbone he broke at Assen a fortnight ago.
The Spaniard has also confirmed the injury will rule him out of next weekend's United States Grand Prix at Laguna Seca.
Pedrosa, meanwhile, sat out the race after feeling unwell due to low blood pressure in practice this morning.
The Spaniard fell heavily in practice yesterday, suffering a minor collarbone fracture.