While the Bayern Munich juggernaut rolled on serenely at the top of the table, Dortmund struggled to a 2-2 draw in Hoffenheim. And Nuremberg stretched their winless streak to 16 games in Hannover - despite leading 3-0.
Dortmund continued a poor Bundesliga run on Saturday, managing only to come away from Hoffenheim with a 2-2 draw - though they showed plenty of guts to get that far after going 2-0 down in the first half.
Hoffenheim opened the scoring in the 17th minute by out-Dortmunding Dortmund - catching Jürgen Klopp's men in possession in their own half and streaming forward in a lightning break, with Sven Schipplock finally lifting the ball neatly over the onrushing Mitch Langerak in goal.
Misery was piled on BVB in the 37th minute, when Kevin Volland latched onto a lovely lofted pass across the area, managing by a whisker to stay on side, before crashing the ball past the goalkeeper. Even as Klopp was still raging on the touchline, his men managed to pull one back thanks to a howler from the home side's goalkeeper Jens Grahl, who somehow failed to hold onto a corner that he appeared to have caught.
Robert Lewandowski nipped into to prod the ball goalwards, before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang took no chances and thrashed the ball in from less than a yard, leaving the scoreline at 2-1 at half-time.
Dortmund accelerated the tempo in the second half and found the breakthrough in the 67th minute, when Nuri Sahin spanked a sharp cross into the area, where Lukasz Piszczek headed the ball against Grahl and then poked home as he followed up. The two sides traded chances in the second half, with Lewandowski hitting the post.
Bayern cruise past Hamburg
Bayern extended their record-breaking run with a 3-1 win against Hamburg, ensuring they would go into the winter break as top of the league. HSV had let in 20 goals in the course of their last three trips to the Allianz Arena, memorably going down 9-2 on their last visit.
Hence the visitors would have seen it as a minor moral victory that they survived the bulk of the first half without conceding. But Bayern Munich's relentless pressure and all-consuming possession told in the 42nd minute, when Mario Mandzukic was on hand to capitalize on an amazing piece of athleticism on the byline from Rafinha, who stretched to clip a seemingly lost ball across the goal mouth for the Croatian to nod home.
The Bavarians' other star-Mario doubled the lead as the second half got under way - Götze spun brilliantly and slammed into the near corner after HSV failed to clear the ball from their area. After that, the champions switched into auto-pilot for most of the second half, only to be awoken when Pierre-Michel Lasogga halved the lead for the visitors on the 87th minute. Stung into action, Xherdan Shaqiri made sure of the three points by smashing the ball into the near corner in stoppage time. The Bayern juggernaut had slipped into gear once again.
Nuremberg still winless
Nuremberg, still chasing their first win of the season (in 15 attempts) going into the game, seemed to have backed up their early dominance by putting three past a bemused Hannover in 11 delirious minutes in the first half. But they subsequently let the lead slip, ultimately conceding the 3-3 equalizer in injury time.
Nuremberg had opened the scoring in the 30th minute thanks to Makoto Hasebe, who found Adam Hlousek completely free on the left. His shot from 20 meters out took a lucky deflection before skittering into the right corner.
The second, eight minutes later, was down to a lovely pass from Hiroshi Kiyotake to Swiss striker Josip Drmic, who cut through the home side's defense and rounded Ron-Robert Zieler in goal with panache. By this time, Hannover were completely befuddled, and the third goal, in the 41st minute, was a header by the defender Per Nilsson from a barely defended corner.
Predictably enough, Hannover raised their game in the second half and pulled one back on the hour mark thanks to some excellent skill from Szabolcs Huszti, who topped off a mazy dribble into the area with a pass across the goal to Leo Bittencourt. He slotted home without fuss from just outside the six-yard box.
Nuremberg's resilience held out for a while, but they were undone by a scandalous decision in 87th minute. Bittencourt found Mame Diouf almost two meters offside in the area, but the resulting goal was allowed to stand, apparently because the linesman had failed to see the touch that put him through. Then, with a deadening inevitability, the Senegalese striker doubled his tally in the second minute of stoppage time.
Augsburg slam Braunschweig 4-1
Augsburg sealed their mid-table security efficiently enough. But they only took the lead against bottom club Braunschweig thanks to a somewhat generous 23rd minute penalty, with Dutchman Paul Verhaegh converting.
The home team, in ninth place as play began, then ran riot as Braunschweig's heads dropped, with André Hahn scoring two goals in four minutes (in the 30th and 33rd minutes). The first of these was the kind of stroke of bad luck that only a bottom side can suffer - an innocuous cross was deflected, confusing the defenders, and Hahn was alone to finish off. The second came when a desperate Braunschweig committed too many men forward and left Werner to find Hahn in a one-on-one with goalkeeper Daniel Davari, the striker havng plenty of time to pick a spot.
Although the bottom side managed to pull one back within a couple of minutes of the re-start, Augsburg never looked like giving up the lead. Hamit Altintop made sure of the three points in the 76th minute, slotting a great shot from the edge of the area - just under the bar and above the flailing keeper.
Wolfsburg close in on Champions League spot
In Saturday's electric late game, fifth-placed Wolfsburg hosted 10th-placed Stuttgart and extended their unbeaten run to nine with a 3-1 win.
But the visitors had every reason to feel aggrieved, especially in the first half when it seemed that a good goal was disallowed on the half-hour mark. Lightning-fast 17-year-old Timo Werner zipped onto a diagonal ball from strike partner Vedad Ibisevic, and slammed a finish at goalkeeper Diego Benaglio. The Swiss shot-stopper managed to get a touch onto it and the ball looped up into air and appeared to drop over the line, only to cleared by recovering defender Robin Knoche.
But the goal was not given, and the Wolves rubbed salt in the wound eight minutes later through the left-back Ricardo Rodriguez. His lofted long free-kick beat everyone and left Stuttgart's already nervy-looking goalkeeper Sven Ulreich stranded as the ball bounced apologetically past him.
Stuttgart were unlucky when Wolfsburg extended their lead in the second half too. Diego's free-kick was a harsh one - a handball given against Martin Harnik after the ball simply slammed into him at a previous free-kick. Then the Brazilian's kick needed a deflection off the leaping Christian Gentner to wrong-foot Ulreich.
Stuttgart halved the deficit just four minutes later through the ever-lively Werner. A free-kick taken from the halfway line dropped to Ibisevic, who laid the ball back perfectly for the youngster to strike low and hard into the bottom corner. He was handed another chance in the 73rd minute - another through-ball left him alone in front of Benaglio, who stood up well to stop the ball. Not long after, the keeper turned away a fierce shot from Gentner.
The Swiss's various interventions proved decisive, and Wolfsburg went on to seal the points through substitute Ivan Perisic. His initial attempt was stopped by Ulreich, but the Croatian was sharp enough to poke home on the second attempt.
The win leaves Wolfsburg just three points behind Gladbach in the coveted fourth Champions League spot.
Mönchengladbach stalemate in Mainz
Gladbach began the day with a good chance of overtaking Dortmund in third place, and almost managed it without lifting a finger - their 0-0 away in Mainz would have been enough to edge above BVB, thanks to their travails in Hoffenheim. The game itself was tight and tactical, and both sides semed happy to come away with a point.
The draw leaves the Foals still in fourth place and still breathing down the necks of stuttering Dortmund.