Bayern Munich's Mario Gomez hit a hat-trick as the defending champions went third in the Bundesliga on Saturday with a 5-1 win over Kaiserslautern as leaders Borussia Dortmund drew 1-1 with Stuttgart.
Despite being held, the leaders remain 13 points clear at the top with Bayern 14 points behind after Gomez netted three second-half goals to bring his tally to 15 in 17 league matches this season. It makes him the league's joint top-scorer with Freiburg's Papiss Cisse Demba.
"When we win 5-1, that is fantastic," said Bayern coach Louis van Gaal. "We had lots of problems in the first half, Kaiserslautern were very disciplined and well organised. But we scored two quick goals at just the right time (through Gomez)."
Bayern opened the scoring when Dutchman Arjen Robben latched onto a long pass from Germany star Thomas Mueller, held off a defender and beat Stuttgart goalkeeper Sven Ulreich with almost the last kick of the first-half. Munich went 2-0 up straight after the break when Robben beat two defenders down the left wing, squared the ball to Bastian Schweinsteiger who offered his Germany team-mate Gomez the chance to tap into an empty net.
Kaiserslautern pulled a goal back when Bayern defender Anatoliy Tymoshchuk made a hash of dealing with a cross and the loose ball fell into the path of Czech midfielder Jan Moravek in the 62nd minute who fired home. But Gomez showed his class with two late goals before Mueller added the fifth in added time to complete the rout.
Dortmund had to share the points after Stuttgart's Russia striker Pavel Pogrebnyak equalised in the 84th minute. "We had several good chances when we could have scored the winner, but we wasted our chances," said Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp. "We didn't seem to understand that we should have defended until the end."
Borussia had opened the scoring just before the half-time break when midfielder Kevin Grosskreutz slid a pass through the Stuttgart defence for teenager Mario Goetze to beat the goalkeeper on 43 minutes. Stuttgart fought back for a point but are still 17th in the league, one from bottom, despite the draw.
Cologne dragged themselves out of the bottom three with a 3-0 win at home to Werder Bremen which leaves them 15th, just below Bremen who are 14th. Germany striker and Cologne captain Lukas Podolski opened the scoring with a well-taken goal in the sixth minute before Poland midfielder Adam Matuschyk added a second on 33 minutes then Podolski hit a second with time almost up.
"That was completely disappointing," said Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf. "We were never in the game, even though we trained very well before. That sounds a bit schizophrenic, but we didn't even manage to wake up when we had our chances and that is something I have to sort out."
Hanover are second in the table despite losing 1-0 at home to Schalke. Schalke, who face Valencia in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League next month, sealed the win when Spanish striker Raul hit his 10th league goal of the season when he netted in the 33rd minute. The win lifts Schalke up to 10th place.
Ex-England coach Steve McClaren picked up his first win in ten matches when his Wolfsburg side earned a 1-0 win at Mainz, who drop to fourth. A header from Wolfsburg defender Simon Kjaer in the 82nd minute after a cross from Brazilian Diego secured the three points.
Leverkusen have the chance to go second if they can beat bottom side Borussia Moenchengladbach tomorrow.