Champions Bayern Munich suffered a 2-1 defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday and could see second-placed RB Leipzig close the gap to the top of the Bundesliga standings.
Borussia Dortmund are back on victory path with a 4-0 win in the regional derby at Schalke, who remain bottom of the Bundesliga table with only nine points.
Elsewhere, Borussia Moenchengladbach were stunned by second-last Mainz with a 2-1 defeat, Union Berlin continued a fabulous league campaign with a 1-0 triumph at Freiburg, and VfB Stuttgart also beat Cologne 1-0.
Jadon Sancho took advantage of a huge mistake by Benjamin Stambouli to score Dortmund’s opener and Erling Haaland volleyed a stunner with both feet off the ground to smash the ball into the net for the 2-0 three minutes later.
Schalke attempted a reaction in the second half and Suat
Serdar even hit the post, but Raphael Guerreiro and Haaland again hit the net for to end the hosts hopes.
“It was very important that we took the lead and scored a second goal in the first half,” captain Reus said. “It was important to win the game here because the opponents also won.”
Emre Can added “it’s sad for Schalke, sad if we don’t have a derby anymore” and that he hopes Schalke “stay in the league.”
Schalke’s keeper Michael Langer, who replaced injured Ralf Faerhmann on the half hour mark, said the team “don’t want to give up” and coach Christian Gross added “we will fight, we will try everything.”
Bayern failed to recover from a 3-3 draw with Arminia Bielefeld on Monday even though coach Hansi Flick’s squad had a full week to rest.
But Frankfurt were aggressive and offensively creative in the first half to give the Bavarians no space. Bayern, on the other hand, lacked aggression and were also sloppy defensively.
Alaba could not stop Kostic’s cross and the ball found Kamada on the penalty spot for the opener and Younes, in the 31st, extended Frankfurt’s lead and dedicated his goal to Fatih Saracoglu, one of the nine victims of the Hanau shootings that occurred one year agoon Friday.
Bayern improved after the break, being quicker and having the better chances. Lewandowski took one of them after Leroy Sane used all his class to dribble past three Frankfurt defenders and put the ball exactly on the Pole’s foot.
But the reaction didn’t last long as Bayern had to settle for their third defeat of the season. Their lead could be cut to two points if Leipzig beat Hertha Berlin away on Sunday.
“We didn’t get well into the game. Eintracht played with a lot of pace,” Flick said.
“If we had played the way we did in the second half for 90 minutes, the winner would be different. We had turbulent few weeks. We’re just human. But I’m still proud of the team,” he added.
Frankfurt are unbeaten in 11 games on a stunning run with 29 points from the last 33. The win strengthened their grip on fourth and a Champions League place.
“I want to praise the entire team for the way they fought and played football,” Frankfurt coach Adi Huetter said. “This victory is highly valued. We are all mega proud. I hope we keep this flow.”
Playing at home Glabach levelled things up with Lars Stindl, who played his 200th game for the club, after Karim Onisiwo opened the scoring for Mainz. But the visitors fought for the victory and it came with a late goal by Kevin Stoeger.
While Gladbach dropped to eighth in their first match since coach Marco Rose said he would join Borussia Dortmund at the end of the season, Mainz remained second-last but now just one point away of Bielefeld in the play-off and Hertha, the first club out of the relegation zone.
“To travel home with three points is of course very nice. I think the team worked for that and deserved it. I’m just very happy for the whole team,” Stoeger said.
Grischa Proemel’s sole goal secured an important win for underdogs Union against Freiburg, a direct opponent in the fight for a Europa League spot. The capital club are now seventh.
Cologne see themselves closer to the drop zone after Sasa Kalajdzic headed in a cross from Borna Sosa to secure three points for Stuttgart, who remain in a comfortable mid-table position in 10th.
On Sunday, Augsburg host Bayer Levekusen and Werder Bremen visit Hoffenheim.