Bayern Munich keep their cushion at the top as Leverkusen leave Dortmund's title challenge in ruins. In the relegation battle, an eight-point gap has opened up between Mainz and Schalke and the rest.
Yes, and it's another Bundesliga matchday that ends with the champions maintaining their cushion at the top. Bayern weren't anywhere near their best in their 1-0 win at Augsburg, which came courtesy of a Robert Lewandowski penalty, but they remain four points clear. Despite going through something of a rocky spell that had seen them lose at Borussia Mönchengladbach and dumped out of the German Cup by lower league opposition in the space of a week, they're managing to overcome their issues to maintain control of domestic matters.
Once again, they did not. Their 2-1 defeat at Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday evening was a death knell for their title hopes for another season, as Moussa Diaby's searing pace and ice-cold finishing was too much for Dortmund. Julian Brandt scored a rare goal, at the home of his former employers, but the winner came with 10 minutes to go courtesy of rising star Florian Wirtz. While Leverkusen are still in the mix, Dortmund find themselves 10 points off the top.
It was more the ease of Hoffenheim's victory at Hertha Berlin rather than the victory itself, which wasn't exactly unexpected. An early missed penalty by Hertha striker Krzysztof Piatek set the tone for Bruno Labbadia's side, who went into the game with just one win in their previous six and their concerning form sees them spiraling towards the bottom three. The next two visitors to the Olympic Stadium are Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig.
That distinction goes to Leverkusen versus Dortmund. An absorbing contest between two teams that prioritize attack over defense – and it didn't disappoint. Unfortunately for Dortmund, they were outdone by a Leverkusen team who showed all the offensive qualities for which they are renowned – and all under the watch of their former coach, Peter Bosz.
The goal of the matchday came in the game of the matchday. Moussa Diaby's silky smooth opener for Bayer Leverkusen was as much about the assist as the crisp finish. Leon Bailey split Dortmund's defense in half with a pass which required the vision and technique to pull it off. The Jamaican demonstrated both to set up Diaby, whose touch and finish was exemplary.
Diaby again! It really was his matchday, inspiring Leverkusen to their most significant win of the season. His performance was electrifying on a night when Leon Bailey also stood out for a performance that was more like his old self.
"I knew what I was getting into but if we play like we did in the second half against Cologne, we'll get out of this." — Schalke's returning striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.