Bayern Munich were not at their best, but still won away against a spirited Hannover team to move 11 points clear after Wolfsburg's loss. Dortmund drew a blank in Hamburg, while Max Meyer excelled in a Schalke home win.
Hannover 1-3 Bayern Munich
(Kiyotake 25' - Alonso 28', Müller 61' pen., 72')
It has been a tough week for Dante. After being left out of the Brazil squad for the upcoming internationals, he only lasted 32 minutes this weekend against Hannover 96. Bayern might have had 70 percent of the ball in the opening 20 minutes, but they had lost 60 percent of their challenges and looked far from their best - Dante in particular. After a clumsy moment, the Brazilian was caught flat footed as Hannover broke forward. Hiroshi Kiyotake moved into the only real gap available, Dante reacted too slowly and contrary to popular opinion, Manuel Neuer can be, and was beaten.
Xabi Alonso drew Bayern level with a superb free kick just minutes later, before Dante was hauled off for Robert Lewandowski with Bayern still lethargic. Scoring so freely in recent weeks has hidden the fact that without the lead, they have not been as formidable. Defending set-pieces remained an issue, as did converting lateral possession into six-yard box penetration.
The penalty that gave Guardiola's side the lead on the hour mark definitely fell into the contentious decision category. Robert Lewandowski stooped below the height of Marcelo's knee to reach a header but, when clipped by the defender's foot, the spot kick was awarded. Thomas Müller dispatched superbly, as is his prerogative, and then headed in the game's best goal inside the final twenty minutes.
Hannover's best team performance of the season went unrewarded as Bayern won, again. While the score was more representative than in recent weeks and Arjen Robben was finally kept quiet, neither conveyed just how competitive a league game it was. On further inspection, more ruthless and perhaps fortunate opponents will have learned another way to tame the Bayern beast.
Schalke 3-1 Hoffenheim
(Fuchs 12', Meyer 41', 53' - Volland 73')
Positivity makes a difference and after Roberto di Matteo's disastrous outing in the derby last weekend, his more attacking choice of personnel proved enough to down fellow counterattacking connoisseurs Hoffenheim. After Christian Fuchs' opener, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting combined with the returning Max Meyer on two occasions to end the contest. The Cameroonian has been short of his best since returning from the Africa Cup of Nations, but showed brilliant skill and control for both goals and Meyer, notching his first ever Bundesliga brace, proved what an asset he has already become to this team. It wouldn't have been Schalke without a late scare - Hoffenheim's Kevin Volland now has four goals in his last four games - but being positive, particularly at home, is something Roberto di Matteo can afford to be. Perhaps even at Real Madrid next week.
Augsburg 1-0 Wolfsburg
The battle between the Bundesliga's latest powerhouse and the league's hipster side ended in favor of the trendsetters. Dominik Kohr scored the only goal, tucking in the rebound after Diego Benaglio had saved Tobias Werner's penalty just after the hour mark. Dieter Hecking's men were not at their best and it wasn't their day. Vieirinha was lucky to escape punishment for a late clip on the edge of the box, Bas Dost headed back into the box rather than at goal and Robin Knoche saw a goal bizarrely ruled out by referee Manuel Gräfe. For only the second time since October 2013, Wolfsburg failed to score in the Bundesliga as Augsburg stay level on points (38) with fourth-placed Schalke.
Freiburg 0-1 Werder Bremen
(Di Santo 35')
Franco Di Santo's goal was the main attraction in Werder Bremen's 1-0 away win against Freiburg. The Argentine striker curled in an absolute beauty from outside the left-hand corner of the box, in a game where Freiburg huffed and puffed but couldn't test Raphael Wolf as much as they should have. His best of the season was enough for another three points, and a further reminder just how important he is.
Hamburg 0-0 Borussia Dortmund
There's been so much positivity around Dortmund lately that perhaps something less headline making was inevitably around the corner. Both goalkeepers made some smart saves but it wasn't a game for the attacking enthusiast. If Valon Behrami had been sent off after three minutes when he flung an elbow into Henrikh Mkhitaryan's face or Ciro Immobile had decided to shoot rather than cross late on, then Dortmund might have been celebrating another win.