Borussia Dortmund are widely regarded as the only team capable of challenging Bayern for the Bundesliga crown. But they'll have to do better than they did on Saturday when they went down to Wolfsburg 2-1.
Coming off their Champions League loss to Arsenal mid-week, Dortmund were widely tipped to face a tough test in Wolfsburg. And the predictions were correct as the Wolves stymied Jürgen Klopp's men for almost the entire first half. Still, Marco Reus sunk a free kick just before the players headed into the dressing rooms to give the visitors the lead.
Nonetheless, this was not Dortmund at their attacking best. And ten minutes after the restart it was the Wolves scoring on a free kick. Ricardo Rodriguez's effort from distance froze Dortmund keeper Roman Weidenweller on the line, and the ball went in. It was Rodriguez's first-ever Bundesliga goal. And things got worse for Dortmund in minute 70, when Wolves striker Ivica Olic curled in a fine left-footed effort from the edge of the area.
Dortmund frantically chased an equalizer, and they felt they has a claim to a penalty on a couple of occasions, but referee Jochen Drees was unimpressed. The matched ended 2-1, and Klopp sprinted onto the pitch in fury, but was gracious afterward.
"Ivica scored a dream goal," Klopp told reporters. "We needed someone to block that shot."
Dortmund got more bad news immediately after the match, when it emerged that defender Neven Subotic had torn a knee ligament.
Bayern cruise past Augsburg, set new record
If you want to have a chance against Bayern, you need to survive the first few minutes without conceding. That's no doubt something Augsburg coach Markus Weinzierl told his underdog charges ahead of their visit to Munich.
It didn't help. After only five minutes, Dante headed on a corner, and Jerome Boateng quickly rotated and buried a left-footed shot.
Augsburg were clearly overmatched, especially when Franck Ribery was on the ball, and were lucky not to concede another in the minutes that followed. There was no luck involved in minute 42, however, when Ribery hit an absolute screamer of a free kick into the top right corner.
The second half saw Bayern go into cruise control against their harmless opponents. Thomas Müller scored a penalty with time running out to complete the 3-0 scoreline. The win takes Bayern four points clear of second-placed Dortmund.
It was Bayern's 37th straight Bundesliga match without a defeat - a new German record.
"The record is unbelievable - it's not easy to go un defeated for 37 matches," said Bayern coach Pep Guardiola. "Congratulations to the club."
Bayern and Dortmund lock horns in round 13 in two weeks time.
Son haunts his former team
The key match-up in Leverkusen-Hamburg was the hosts' forward Heung-Min Son, formerly of Hamburg, going up against ex-teammate Heiko Westermann. The South Korean was the clear winner, blowing past the defender twice in the first fifteen minutes to nab a brace.
Third-placed Leverkusen looked to be heading for an easy win, but Simon Rolfes gave away the ball in front of his own goal in minute 23, and Maximilian Beister put Hamburg back in the match.
Just after the restart Pierre-Michel Lasogga – a product of Leverkusen's youth program – slotted home an equalizer. But Son completed his hat-trick shortly thereafter with a low, curling shot to restore the hosts' lead.
Son looked to have sewn up the match in minute 75, when he found Stefan Kiessling on the counter-attack, and the striker made it 4-2. But only two minutes later, Lasogga headed home a Rafael van der Vaart cross to give the visitors a chance at a point.
"Normally, if you score three goals against a top team like Leverkusen, you don't lose," Hamburg coach Bert van Marwijk groused after the final whistle.
The match went right down to the wire, but in the final minutes, Hamburg keeper Rene Adler came out a bit too far, and Gonzalo Castro lobbed him to complete the 5-3 goal festival.
Gladbach stay perfect at home
In Saturday’s late match fourth-placed Mönchengladbach were looking to defend their spotless home record against dead-last Nuremberg. But the guests came out of the blocks with much more energy and were rewarded after 20 minutes, when Josip Drmic found his range.
The match was still 1-0 at half-time. Nuremberg were putting in a courageous performance – the only criticism of them was that they weren’t ahead by more.
The club also showed more spark after the restart, but couldn’t extend their lead, and that opened the door to a surprising turnaround. In minute 70, Juan Arango manufactured one of his curling goals from distance to level things. And only three minutes later, Niklas Stark scored an own goal after a pacy Arango cross.
With ten minutes left, Drmic thought he might have tied the match up with a hard shot, but the officials ruled that the ball had not completely crossed the line. Replays were inconclusive. Instead, it was Patrick Herrmann sealing a lucky 3-1 win for the Foals three minutes from time.
The result keeps Gladbach in fourth ahead of Wolfsburg. Nuremberg have drifted down to dead last and are still looking for their first season win.
Back and forth in Schalke and Hoffenheim
Schalke, who were thrashed by Chelsea in Champions League on Wednesday, probably liked the prospect of hosting Bremen. But their visitors grabbed the lead in the first half with a goal by Felix Kroos.
Schalke equalized in minute 65, when Kevin-Prince Boateng headed in a cross by wunderkind Julian Draxler from close range. Then with the minutes ticking down another Boateng header gave the Royal Blues the lead. And in injury time, Boateng turned provider as the convalescent Jefferson Farfan sealed the 3-1 win for Schalke.
In Hoffenheim, visitors Hertha Berlin were seeking to break a two-game losing streak. And they got off to a good start, with Änis Ben Hatira putting away an Adrian Ramos cross in the first half. In minute 53, Ramos drew a soft penalty and coolly converted to double the Old Lady's advantage. But fifteen minutes later, Sejad Salihovic also struck from the spot in what looked like a make-up call.
Salihovic, who began his career with Hertha, then knotted the score with a precision free kick ten minutes from time. But Hertha hung tough, and Ramos headed the visitors back in front only three minutes later. The 3-2 away win continues promoted Berlin's fine early form.
On Friday, Hanover and Braunschweig battled to a goalless draw.
On Sunday Mainz meet Frankfurt. And Freiburg lock horns with Stuttgart in a battle of local southern German rivals.