TSG Hoffenheim lost the Bundesliga lead with a 1-0 defeat at Hertha Berlin on Sunday while Bayern Munich moved close to the top with a big 2-1 victory at Schalke 04.
Luca Toni returned to action and got Bayern off to a winning start against Schalke
Luca Toni returned from injury to open Munich's scoring and Franck Ribery scored the other as Juergen Klinsmann's Munich won for the fifth time on a row. Jefferson Farfan got the temporary equalizer for Schalke.
Andrei Voronin's 70th-minute winner for Hertha over Hoffenheim meant that Bayer Leverkusen are the new frontrunners even though they threw away a 3-0 lead in a 3-3 draw at SC Karlsruhe on Saturday.
Leverkusen and Hoffenheim have 25 points each, with Leverkusen's goal difference superior by one. Munich are now just one point behind on 24, SV Hamburg have 23 and Schalke are fifth on 20 points.
Eintracht Frankfurt drew 2-2 with VfB Stuttgart in the other Sunday game.
Leverkusen throw away a lead but still go top
Bayer Leverkusen threw away a 3-0 lead in a 3-3 draw at SC Karlsruhe on Saturday.
Helmes got Bayer off the mark
Patrick Helmes, Stefan Kiessling and Michal Kadlec were on target in the opening 24 minutes for Leverkusen who appeared on course for a fifth straight victory.
But Karlsruhe rallied from Anthony da Silva, Tim Sebastian and Alexander Iashvili to earn a point after losing the previous five matches.
"We wanted three points and gave away two. We played very bad in the second half," said Kadlec.
Leverkusen came to Karlsruhe off four straight 2-0 victories and had a flying start there as Helmes scored his ninth goal of the season off a fine feed from Arturo Vidal just 33 seconds into the game.
Kiessling doubled the lead with a 17th-minute header and Kadlec's curling free-kick in the 24th for 3-0 seemed to settle matters.
But Leverkusen and Germany goalkeeper Rene Adler was then beaten for the first time in five matches when Kiessling deflected da Silva's free-kick in the 37th.
Sebastian cut the deficit to one on the hour and Iashvili completed the surprise comeback by heading the equalizer in the 76th.
"It was a deserved draw because of the second half. You can see what's possible in football. That is possible if you believe in yourself," said Sebastian.
Hamburg keeping pace after BVB victory
SV Hamburg remained third with 23 points from a 2-1 victory against Borussia Dortmund.
Hamburg rebounded from a 3-0 drubbing at lowly Hanover with the win over Dortmund.
Former BVB striker Mladen Petric put Hamburg in the lead against Dortmund
Former Dortmund forward Mladen Petric nodded home the opening goal in the ninth minute and then fed fellow-Croatian Ivica Olic for Hamburg's second in the 34th.
Tamas Hajnal struck for Dortmund early in the second half but Hamburg hung on to win. Dortmund's Robert Kovac was red-carded after the final whistle for insulting the referee.
"We fought well and showed a good attitude. I am very satisfied," said Hamburg coach Martin Jol.
Elsewhere, Grafite scored a hat-trick as VfL Wolfsburg defeated bottom club Energie Cottbus 3-0. Borussia Moenchengladbach left the drop zone with a 2-0 victory at Arminia Bielefeld from Marko Marin's double.
Bremen under-perform again in Bochum draw
Werder Bremen were held 0-0 at lowly VfL Bochum three days after their 3-0 Champions League disaster against Panathinaikos Athens. Naldo was denied by the crossbar and Bremen's frustration culminated in a late red card for Mesut Ozil.
Cologne defeated Hanover 2-1 on Friday and the third Sunday game is a mid-table tie between Eintracht Frankfurt and VfB Stuttgart.