Bayern Munich's Mario Gomez has scored a hat trick as the defending champions went third in the Bundesliga with a win over Kaiserslautern. League leaders Dortmund had to settle for a disappointing draw with Stuttgart.
Bayern Munich punished Kaiserslautern in a 5:1 defeat.
Bayern Munich smashed Kaiserslautern on Saturday in a 5-1 victory, moving up to third place in the Bundesliga - sweet revenge for their shock 2-0 defeat to the newly-promoted Kaiserslautern earlier in the season.
"We are third and our rivals have all lost. So we are heading in the right direction," said Munich coach Louis van Gaal after the game.
Arjen Robben opened the scoring on his return to Bayern Munich's starting 11, after making his season debut as a substitute last week coming off a hamstring injury. With almost the last kick of the first half, the Netherlands winger rounded goalkeeper Tobias Sippel and scored into the empty net after being set up nicely by Thomas Müller.
Bayern's Mario Gomez then grabbed a hat trick, netting the ball in the 47th, 80th and 85th minutes. A goal by Müller rounded out the goal count for Bayern. Jan Moravek was on target for visitors Kaiserslautern, scoring the team's only goal in the 62nd minute.
Munich have all but kissed their title defense chances goodbye but are gunning for second place and direct entry into the Champions League now that they have Robben back.
Bayern cut the deficit on Borussia Dortmund to 14 points as the leaders had to settle for a 1-1 home draw against lowly VfB Stuttgart.
Disappointment at the top
Dortmund were in full command against relegation-threatened Stuttgart but it took until the 43rd minute before Mario Goetze completed a fast move via Mats Hummels, Nuri Sahin and Kevin Grosskreutz.
The hosts were punished for wasting further chances when Pavel Pogrebnyak fired Stuttgart's equalizer high into the net with five minutes left.
Raul's goal brings Schalke up to 10th place
Stuttgart are still 17th in the league, second from bottom, despite the draw.
Dortmund now have 47 points to rank 13 points ahead of Hanover 96, who have 34, despite losing 1-0 at home to Schalke in their game Saturday.
Spanish striker Raul hit his 10th league goal of the season when he netted in the 33rd minute for Schalke. The victory lifts Schalke up to 10th place in Germany's top soccer league.
Munich, Mainz 05 and Bayer Leverkusen follow Hanover 96 on 33 points each.
Mainz were also brought down to earth with a 1-0 defeat when lowly Wolfsburg got a badly-needed breather from Simon Kjaer's header in the 82nd minute.
In other action, SC Freiburg drew 1-1 with Nuremberg, while Hamburg defeated Eintracht Frankfurt 1-0 on Friday and Cologne shut out Werder Bremen 3-0 at home.
On Sunday, Hoffenheim willl meet St. Pauli and Leverkusen have the chance to go second if they can beat bottom side Moenchengladbach.
Author: Natalia Dannenberg (dpa, AFP)
Editor: Martin Kuebler