Borussia Dortmund earned a 1-0 win at struggling Hertha Berlin today to open a three-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga standing as Bayern Munich were held to a goalless draw at bottom-side Freiburg.
Bayern, who drop to third in the table, were outplayed by Freiburg in the first 45 minutes, but improved when Dutch winger Arjen Robben came on after the break. The draw leaves the bottom three teams, Kaiserslautern, Augsburg and Freiburg,- all on 18 points while Bayern lay four points behind Dortmund.
"We have lost two more points to Dortmund," said Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes. "Normally, you shouldn't allow such lapses as we did here. The team believes they have enough ability to be successful, but with teams who are in the relegation fight like Freiburg, that doesn't always work.
"In the first half, we were too sluggish, we played like I wanted us to in the second half, but we have to do that over the full 90 minutes."
Meanwhile, Dortmund claimed a narrow win with their only goal coming when a bullet header from Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski was parried by Hertha goalkeeper Thomas Kraft and winger Kevin Grosskreutz was on hand to hit an overhead shot on 66 minutes to finally break Berlin's resistance.
Dortmund played without injured Japanese winger Shinji Kagawa and coach Jurgen Klopp starting Lucas Barrios as the lone striker. "That was really hard work, the pitch was greasy and it was difficult to control the ball," said Klopp. "I was thrilled by the will and attitude of the team. I think we deserved the win."
Hertha, who sacked coach Michael Skibbe last Sunday after five straight defeats, remain 15th in the league and Otto Rehhagel, who led Greece to the UEFA EURO 2004 title, will take over on Sunday.
Gladbach pressure with win
Borussia Moenchengladbach took their chance to take second place from Bayern after a 2-1 win at Kaiserslautern. The win came at a price as midfielder Patrick Herrmann scored Gladbach's first goal after only nine minutes, but was later carried off with a broken collarbone and is expected to be out for the next six weeks.
"It was no surprise to us how hard it was here," said Gladbach's Lucien Favre. "Luckily, we managed to create two goals, we wanted to get a third, but then we conceded one. At the end of the day, we are happy with the win, because it won't be easy for the other teams to get three points from Kaiserslautern."
Werder Bremen, who are fifth in the league, earned bragging rights in the north German derby with a 3-1 win at Hamburg.
Bayer Leverkusen, who were beaten 3-1 at home by holders Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League in midweek, bounced back to stay sixth with a 4-1 win over Augsburg, who are second from bottom. Finally, Nurnberg pulled themselves up to 12th and out of the relegation mire with a 2-1 win at home to Cologne, who dropped down to 14th, just two places above the relegation zone.
On Sunday, Schalke 04 need a win at home to VfL Wolfsburg to stay amongst the title contenders, while Hannover host Stuttgart.