The glass was half empty for Mönchengladbach, as the Foals conceded a late goal in their 2-2 draw against Wolfsburg. But it was also half full. Gladbach spend the winter ahead of Dortmund.
In the final match of 2013, Gladbach needed only a point to move past Dortmund and spend the winter break in third place. Standing in their way were visitors Wolfsburg, who were also enjoying a fine season in fifth.
The first ten minutes or so were a sparring phase, and it was the Wolves who generated the better early chances. Daniel Caligiuri had the ball in the net, but the goal was rightly waved off for a handball. He and his teammates forced Marc-André ter Stegen into a handful of saves, but the Gladbach keeper was up to the task.
As time wore on, the hosts enjoyed increasing possession, but lacked the incisive final pass. On the half-hour mark, Max Kruse blasted over from seven meters, squandering the Foals' best chance.
After the restart, Wolves playmaker Diego broke the ice when he got on the end of a sly low cross in minute 53. But their lead only lasted five minutes. Brazilian midfielder Raffael went on a lovely solo run and notched his ninth goal of the season.
Rafael could have put the home side in front immediately thereafter but just missed a toe poke. So it was up to Juan Arango in the 65th minute. The Venezuelan curled in one of his patented free kicks from way downtown, and the Foals were off to the races.
Everything was going the hosts' way until five minutes from time. Ter Stegen blocked a close-range Luiz Gustavo shot, but much maligned substitute Bas Dost was on hand – albeit also slightly offside – to sneak home an equalizer.
Still Gladbach can celebrate overtaking Dortmund and enjoy spending Christmas in the top three. Wolfsburg will hardly be that disappointed with fifth, either.
The final match of round 17, Stuttgart versus Bayern, will be held on January 29 because of Munich's participation in the Club World Cup, which they won on Saturday.
The Bundesliga resumes on January 24, with Gladbach hosting Bayern.