Sami Khedira got his second goal in the dying seconds as Stuttgart battled to a 2-2 draw with 10-man Bayern Munich. The draw leaves Hoffenheim with a better chance of claiming the title of "winter champs."
A pair of goals from Khedira grabbed a point against Munich for mid-table Stuttgart
Defending league champions Munich climbed to the top of the table for the first time this season as they stretched their unbeaten run to 11 matches in the league and 16 overall after a slow start into the season.
Khedira's spectacular volley in the 90th minute cancelled out Munich's lead from Tim Borowski and Luca Toni. Khedira had given Stuttgart the lead on the stroke of halftime and got the equalizer after Munich had Massimo Oddo sent off late in the match.
Munich have 35 points for a one-point advantage over surprise package TSG Hoffenheim, who need a draw on Sunday against Schalke to go into the six-week winter break at the top of the standings on goal difference.
Khedira shot flew past Munich goalkeeper Michael Rensing
Hertha Berlin and SV Hamburg have 33 apiece and Bayer Leverkusen 32.
"The team has been first class over the past three months," Munich coach Juergen Klinsmann said after the game. "We are very satisfied overall."
Borowski said: "We stuttered a bit at the start of the season but then got going. But we would have preferred a win today."
Beginners luck for Babbel?
The 2007 champions Stuttgart won their last two matches since coaching novice Markus Babbel took over, and he managed a lucky draw against the club he formerly played for, with Munich missing French star Franck Ribery over a shoulder injury.
The hosts grabbed the lead in first-half injury time when Martin Delpierre nodded on Jan Simak's corner to the unmarked Khedira, whose diving header found its way past Michael Rensing.
Lehmann was caught out on Toni's goal for Bayern
But Munich rebounded after the break. Borowski slotted home in the 48th after former Germany goalkeeper Jens Lehmann parried Bastian Schweinsteiger's shot, and then fed Toni on the counter in the 66th minute, the Italy forward tapping in from close range.
Oddo was sent off five minutes from time for a ruthless tackle, and Khedira scored again late for the final draw with a spectacular volley from the edge of the area.
"It's a pity to get the equalizer in the last minute. The red card was crucial," said Klinsmann.
Stuttgart captain Thomas Hitzlsperger said: "We didn't give up, even against a team like Bayern."
Babbel called his team "sensational" saying, "We threw away a lead but fought hard to get the draw."
The rest of the league
Berlin's players had ample opportunity to celebrate
In Saturday's other Bundesliga action, Hertha Berlin won 4-0 over SC Karlsruhe from Maximilian Nicu's eighth-minute half-volley and three goals in the final 20 minutes from Valeri Domovchiyski, Fabian Lustenberger and Raffael.
Hamburg remained tied on points with Hertha with their seventh win in eight home games, with reliable Croatian marksman Mladen Petric scoring the 1-0 winner over Eintracht Frankfurt with a diving header off Piotr Trochowski's right-wing cross.
Leverkusen's Germany midfielder Simon Rolfes found an opening in the 77th minute but visiting Energie Cottbus salvaged a surprise 1-1 in the final minute from China's Shao Jiayi.
Midtable Werder Bremen came from behind to beat Vfl Wolfsburg 2-1, Cologne won 2-1 at VfL Bochum while Hanover 96 and Arminia Bielefeld drew 1-1. Borussia Dortmund defeated bottom club Borussia Moenchengladbach 2-1 on Friday.