Huddersfield and Leeds are both targeting promotion this season
German Hefele tapped home from Aaron Mooy’s deflected ball to spark wild celebrations at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Managers David Wagner and Garry Monk were both sent off in the following melee as the bosses squared up to each other.
Leeds thought they had earned a point when Chris Wood cancelled out Izzy Brown’s opener before half time.
But Town bagged the winner to move above Leeds into fourth place in the Championship.
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Express Sport brings you the full list of Championship promotion odds for 2016/17
Both sides went into the crunch West Yorkshire derby having won key games in midweek.
Huddersfield led through Brown, who reacted first to a low drive on the counter after coming off the bench for the injured Kasey Palmer 25 minutes in.
But Leeds hit back thanks to Wood, who deftly took the ball around goalkeeper Danny Ward after Kyle Bartley had knocked back a high cross.
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Leeds had goalkeeper Green to thank for blocking Palmer and Collin Quaner efforts before the break.
Huddersfield took the lead through Izzy Brown
Chris Wood scored Leeds' equaliser
And the visitors were lucky Quaner fluffed a volley when unmarked in the box midway through the second half.
Leeds threw on deadline day signings Modou Barrow and Alfonso Pedraza in an effort to force the issue.
But it was Huddersfield who maintained the pressure into the closing minutes and got their goal after Hefele beat the offside trap.
But that was not the end of the drama as both benches spilled out onto the touchline following an angry clash between Wagner and Monk which will likely lead to an investigation into the incident.