Borussia Dortmund won 3-2 at Hoffenheim to cut the gap at the top of the Bundesliga back to three points, pending Bayern Munich’s trip to Hertha Berlin on Sunday.
Erling Haaland scored the first goal of the Saturday programme after six minutes and Marco Reus also netted as Dortmund quickly forgot their midweek Cup exit to St Pauli Hamburg and knocked Hoffenheim down to sixth from fourth.
Bayer Leverkusen bolstered their position in third with Moussa Diaby’s hat-trick sealing a 5-1 home win over Augsburg while Union Berlin climbed to fourth following a 2-1 win at struggling Borussia Mönchengladbach, which could spell trouble for coach Adi Hütter.
Freiburg are fifth after a 2-0 success over second-bottom Stuttgart and basement side Greuther Fürth grabbed only their second win with a 2-1 home victory over Mainz.
Cologne drew 2-2 at Bochum in Saturday’s late game to move up to seventh spot.
On Friday, mid-table Eintracht Frankfurt’s Champions League hopes suffered another blow in a 2-0 home defeat by Arminia Bielefeld, who are three points above the automatic drop zone.
As well as leaders Bayern’s travelling to the capital on Sunday, improving RB Leipzig host beleaguered Wolfsburg.
Dortmund made sure Bayern go into that game looking over their shoulder after Haaland’s early tap-in following a superb team move.
But Hoffenheim then struck the woodwork twice before Andrej Kramaric expertly guided Ihlas Bebou’s cross into the net just before the interval.
Dortmund had battered Freiburg 5-1 last weekend but followed up with Tuesday’s 2-1 loss to second tier St Pauli, which dumped the holders out of the German Cup at the last 16 stage.
Their inconsistency looked like it was again playing into the hands of Bayern, who are chasing a 10th straight title, but another fine team move set up to Reus to score on 58 minutes.
David Raum’s own goal then made the win safe for the visitors with Georginio Rutter’s strike for Hoffenheim coming too late. Haaland though limped off injured.
“We started well in the early minutes, then…we became too passive,” Reus told Sky TV. “We went to five at the back in the second half which helped.”
Leverkusen have a two-point cushion in the top four after Karim Bellarabi and Diaby netted early. Diaby’s second goal on 65 minutes quickly extinguished third-bottom Augsburg’s hopes of a comeback after Arne Maier cut the deficit.
France winger Diaby then completed his treble on the counter-attack for an eighth goal of the campaign with Lucas Alario’s backheel settling matters.
Leverkusen coach Gerardo Seoane said: “After a weak phase at the start to the second half, the team quickly took things into their hands. A deserved win in my opinion.” (DPA)