Borussia Dortmund rallied to beat bottom-place Borussia Moenchengladbach 4-1 on Saturday and retain a seven-point lead atop the Bundesliga, while Bayern Munich moved up three places to fifth by defeating Eintracht Frankfurt 4-1 on Saturday.
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Neven Subotic, Shinji Kagawa, Kevin Grosskreutz and Lucas Barrios scored for Dortmund, which now has 37 points, with 12 wins in 14 games.
Schalke went down 5-0 at Kaiserslautern three days after reaching the last 16 of the Champions League, Hoffenheim rallied from two goals down and converted a penalty late in injury time to salvage a 2-2 draw against third-place Bayer Leverkusen and Hannover beat Freiburg 3-0 to stay fourth with its third consecutive win.
Anatoliy Tymoshchuk scored two goals and Mario Gomez also netted for Bayern, which scored twice within two minutes in the second half. Gomez now has 15 goals in his last 11 games.
"We know that we have a lot of points to recover and we are going to try to do it and then have a nice Christmas holiday," Gomez said.
Hamburger SV beat 10-man Stuttgart 4-2, while second-place Mainz beat Nuremberg 3-0 on Friday.
Mainz has 30 points, Leverkusen 26, Hannover 25 and Bayern 23.
Moenchengladbach’s goalkeeper Christofer Heimeroth prevented his team from going down by stopping good efforts from Barrios and Kagawa before Marco Reus drove home from 22 meters (yards).
Subotic rose to head past Heimeroth off a corner from Goetze in the final seconds of the first half to level.
Kagawa made it 2-1 after collecting a perfect through ball from Goetze and accelerating past Heimeroth to hit the empty net.
Barrios flicked a delicate pass with his heel for substitute Grosskreutz to sprint past two defenders and score inside the far post, then scored himself in the 88th.
Bayern, unbeaten in seven games, posted its biggest victory of the season over a Frankfurt side weakened by several injuries. Frankfurt has lost its last two.
Coach Louis van Gaal has set a target of 30 points for Bayern to reach before the winter break and Bayern now has three games remaining to do it. The defending champion jumped three places with Saturday’s win and eased the pressure on van Gaal, who got backing from the club’s front office earlier in the week.
After Gomez found the target but was called for offside, a dreadful mistake by Daniel van Buyten allowed Fanis Gekas to break through but Breno cleared on the line. Gekas got the ball back and fed Sonny Kittel, but the 17-year-old midfielder’s attempt in his fourth Bundesliga appearance went wide.
Gomez had another attempt in the 17th, bit his header was also wide.
Gekas then had another opportunity but was foiled by Breno again.
Tymoshchuk scored in the 29th, controlling the ball with his right and driving with his left foot inside the far post from just inside the penalty box.
Gekas notched his league-high 12th goal of the season in the 33rd. With van Buyten mistiming his clearance attempt, Gekas rose for a good header but it was tipped away by Hans-Joerg Butt against the post. With Bayern’s defenders not reacting, Gekas got the rebound and sent it into the net.
Two minutes into the second half, Gomez nearly capitalized on an error by Kittel but his shot brushed the far post and skidded out.
With Gomez obstructing his view, Eintracht goalkeeper Oka Nikolov fumbled a shot by Toni Kroos and Thomas Mueller knocked in the rebound in the 59th. Less than two minutes later, Nikolov parried a shot by Franck Ribery but could not hold onto it and Gomez put the ball into the net.
"He is scoring and it’s important for the team to know they can rely on him," van Gaal said.
Butt protected Bayern’s lead when he stopped a tricky shot by Martin Fenin in the 84th. On the other side, Nikolov foiled Gomez trying to finish off a counterattack.
Tymoshchuk completed the victory late in the match after a feed from Ribery.
Schalke played its best match of an otherwise disappointing season in beating Lyon 3-0 in the Champions League. But it was routed at promoted Kaiserslautern, which got two goals from Srdjan Lakic.
"It was catastrophic," Schalke’s goalkeeper and captain Manuel Neuer said of his team’s performance. "We never got into the game."