Leverkusen and Mönchengladbach claimed stunning away victories in Sunday's Bundesliga action, with Leverkusen snapping Bayern Munich's record winning streak. Meanwhile Stuttgart had to fight hard to beat Frankfurt.
The last time Leverkusen recorded a league victory over Bayern away in Munich was October 21, 1989 - three weeks before the Berlin Wall fell. It felt like a similarly auspicious historical moment when Stefan Kiessling put Leverkusen in the lead in the 42nd minute on Sunday in an unseasonally snowy Munich.
It was an ill-deserved lead in truth, as Bayern had applied all the early pressure, most obviously when Bastian Schweinsteiger produced a sublime back heel in the second minute, which only just sneaked past Bernd Leno's right post.
But though Bayern had the superior class, Leverkusen knew how to take advantage when Gonzalo Castro's pass suddenly found Simon Rolfes in front of the Bayern penalty area. He opened the Bayern defense with a quick ball out wide to Andre Schürrle, who swept the ball across to Kiessling, leaving Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer thoroughly stranded.
The second half was all Bayern, as expected, but they remained sluggish and strangely reluctant. It looked like coach Jupp Heynckes had resolved the problem with an excellent substitution in the 74th minute, when he brought Claudio Pizarro on for an exhausted-looking Schweinsteiger. Three minutes later, the Peruvian striker had set up the equalizer for Mario Mandzukic, Bayern's top-scorer.
The spell broken, it looked like Bayern would romp home to a deserved victory, only for another opportunistic Leverkusen break and a freak goal to knock them down again. A Castro cross found its target in Sidney Sam, but his woeful header would likely have hit a corner flag if it hadn't been for Jerome Boateng. The ball slapped into the hapless defender's face and wrongfooted Neuer to bounce into the goal. Leverkusen's historical celebrations ensued.
Foals make fools of Hannover
The other Sunday evening game was, if anything, even more absurd. Both sides went in with plenty to play for - with a win, the home side Hannover could have leapt up the table to fifth from ninth. In fact, Mönchengladbach, starting the day in 13th place, ended up overtaking their hosts to steal their ninth spot.
And it was a spectular theft. After a turgid first period whose only highlight was Mame Diouf's one-on-one miss in the 19th minute, which should have put Hannover ahead, the second half was a rollicking drunken punch-up of a match, with both sides deciding that reckless attack was the best form of defense.
The first goal came just three minutes into the half from Jan Schlaudraff - a magnificent long-ranger after one of those slick counters that Hannover have trademarked. The home side seemed to have the match sewn up five minutes later, when a neat Diouf back heel completed a complicated prearranged free-kick that had the feel of a circus trick.
But that's where Hannover's creativity was exhausted. Gladbach found their way back into the game in the 70th minute, after Ron-Robert Zieler could only parry a long-range effort from Juan Arango into the path of Alvaro Dominguez, who slotted in smartly at the far-post.
The next nine minutes turned Hannover's day upside down. First they conceded an equalizer with a routine Roel Brouwers header in the 77th minute, and then they lost the lead two minutes later, following another stunning free-kick.
This time the scorer was Arango, humiliating Zieler by sending the ball directly into the near corner while everyone - including his own teammates - were waiting for a cross. It was the best way to cap a topsy-turvy day in the Bundesliga.
Stuttgart scrap to win over Frankfurt
Two teams riding a confidence high faced each other earlier on Sunday. Eintracht Frankfurt - second in the table until Schalke deprived them of that spot on Saturday - traveled to Stuttgart with a reasonable hope of regaining their status.
While newly promoted Frankfurt have been the revelation of the season so far, making the early running and almost keeping pace with the Bayern juggernaut, Stuttgart had recovered from a lackluster start to grab seven points from their previous three games. But perhaps a weary 0-0 draw against FC Copenhagen in the Europa League on Thursday had dented their confidence?
In fact, Stuttgart were liveliest as Sunday's game got under way - they were quicker to the ball than their guests, and made all the running.
The hosts took the lead with virtually their first attack of the game in the sixth minute, when Ibrahima Traore's low cross from the right was deflected up into the air by defender Anderson Bamba. The ball looped high across the six-yard box, over attackers and defenders alike, only to drop neatly to Christian Gentner charging in on the left - he finished with an unstoppable volley.
But after a frenetic opening, during which Frankfurt came on strong but failed to create anything to trouble Sven Ulreich in the Stuttgart goal, the game became increasingly scrappy. Players from both sides were slapped with yellow cards for niggly challenges, and Stuttgart defender Georg Niederkirchner had a tooth knocked out as he challenged for a header.
Though there were barely any shots on target, Stuttgart were arguably lucky to escape a penalty in the 37th minute, when Cristian Molinaro used his hands to block a shot that was flying at his head.
But the game gathered new life in the second half, when Frankfurt's fighting spirit overcame their sloppiness. Though they still couldn't create much in front of goal, their long-range efforts became increasingly venomous.
A brilliant stinging shot from Stefan Aigner was clawed out of the corner by Ulreich early in the half, but the Stuttgart goalkeeper could do nothing about the sublime 67th minute effort from Alexander Meier, who curled the ball into the far corner from an apparently hopeless position.
It was the home side, however, who eventually decided the game, in the 84th minute and through Vedad Ibisevic. The Bosnian striker, having had a headed goal disallowed for offside a minute earlier, took advantage of a brilliant Stuttgart move through the middle, powered chiefly by the ever-energetic Traore.
The result meant that Stuttgart leapfrogged four places to eighth, while Frankfurt had to relinquish their claim to be Bayern's closest challengers.