Nuremberg tried to take the game to Bayern Munich in their home match against the reigning champs. But Bayern's quality ultimately told, as Pep Guardiola's men claimed a 2-0 win. Elsewhere, Dortmund thumped Bremen.
A lot of ink has been spilled in Germany of late about whether opponents simply give up when facing runaway league-leaders Bayern Munich. Nuremberg certainly cannot be accused of that.
Buoyed by two wins in two games in 2014, The Club came out of the blocks faster than their fancied opponents and forced Munich keeper Manuel Neuer into several early saves. But in the 17th minute, as Nuremberg were knocking, Bayern caught them out on the break. Mario Mandzukic converted a David Alaba cross with a skillful left-footed volley.
Bayern should have doubled their advantage, but Arjen Robben and Thomas Müller hit the aluminum of the goal frame. It was hardly a vintage Bayern performance, but four minutes into the second half, Munich again overran The Club on the break. Philipp Lahm popped a pass by Mandzukic over Nuremberg goalkeeper Raphael Schäfer, and Bayern had a two-goal lead. That was all they needed, as they cruised to victory.
"It's a talent to score a goal on only one chance," Nuremberg Gertjan Verbeek told reporters. "Our rhythm was then gone. The first half took a lot out of us, and we didn't really have faith in the second."
Bayern have restored their lead at the top of the table to thirteen points, having seen it shorted courtesy of Bayer Leverkusen's win over Borussia Mönchengladbach on Friday. Nuremberg, meanwhile, sink back into the drop zone and will have to regroup, but they are at least secure in the knowledge that they will not have to face Bayern again this season.
Dortmund destroy Bremen
With the top two both winning, Dortmund needed three points away to struggling Bremen, and after a lethargic start, they made the hosts pay for their deficiencies at the back.
In thr 26th minute, Eljero Elia lost the ball in his own half and Robert Lewandowski sprinted away with it, rifling a hard, low shot past Bremen goalkeeper Raphael Wolf to give Borussia the lead. A quarter of an hour later, Henrikh Mkhitaryan sauntered through the middle of a porous Bremen defence and put Dortmund up 2-0.
Veteran defender Manuel Friedrich, only signed in late 2013 as a stop-gap replacement, put the result beyond doubt with a close-range goal from a corner. Bremen's defense was by now a familiar shambles. On the hour mark, Mkhitaryan swapped neat passes with Marco Reus and added to Bremen's misery. Lewandowski then added a fifth, nutmegging Sebastian Prödl. Levent Aycicek got a consolation goal for Bremen in the dying minutes.
"It was a great performance by my team," Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp said. "That's what we want to see every week, and hopefully we will. I've got very little to complain about."
The 5-1 thrashing means Dortmund are well and truly back on track, while Bremen sink to within a single game of the drop zone.
Frankfurt take apart Braunschweig
Both Frankfurt and Braunschweig go by the name Eintracht, and both came into Saturday fighting against relegation. That is where the similarities ended. Hosts Frankfurt smacked three past the Bundesliga's worst side in the first half. Johannes Flum, Alex Meier and Stefan Aigner were the goal scorers. Frankfurt distance themselves from the drop zone with the 3-0 win, while Braunschweig remain dead last.
Elsewhere, Wolfsburg took an hour to get on the scoreboard against Mainz, with Ricardo Rodriguez converting a penalty to break the deadlock. Six minutes, later striker Bas Dost got a rare goal to make it 2-0, with Luiz Gustavo tucking away a corner to complete the 3-0 scoreline. That result takes the Wolves back into the top six.
Freiburg took 68 minutes to generate a single scoring opportunity against Hoffenheim, and Jonathan Schmid converted it into a goal, poking home from point-blank range. But Anthony Modeste leveled the score five minutes from time as the visitors clawed out a 1-1 draw. Both sides will feel that one point was too little.
In Saturday’s late match, Hamburg and Hertha Berlin came into the game with losing streaks of five and two respectively. It was the visitors from the capital who snapped that negative run. Sami Allagui broke the ice and Adrian Ramos added a brace, with Hertha scoring all three goals in their win in the first half to give their hosts no chance. The 3-0 loss keeps once mighty Hamburg second-from-bottom and mired in the relegation zone.
On Friday, Mönchengladbach extended their decades-long home winless streak against local rivals Leverkusen. The Foals went down 1-0, as Leverkusen solidified their hold on second place in the table.
On Sunday, Stuttgart gun for their first points of 2014 against Augsburg. In the late match, Schalke try to keep pace at the top at home against Hannover.