Bayern Munich left it late to beat Ingolstadt 2-0 and open a seven-point lead with its main rivals dropping points in the Bundesliga on Saturday.
Second-placed Leipzig was beaten 3-0 at home by Hamburger SV, third-placed Eintracht Frankfurt was defeated by the same score to Bayer Leverkusen, and fourth-placed Borussia Dortmund lost at bottom club Darmstadt 2-1.
Bayern, which hosts Arsenal in the Champions League on Wednesday, looked to be laboring toward its second straight league draw after an uninspiring performance before Arturo Vidal struck in the final minute and Arjen Robben added another in injury time.
“We showed great character,” Bayern coach Carlo Ancelotti said.
With just one Bundesliga goal so far after scoring 32 in all competitions last season, Thomas Mueller’s disappointing season epitomizes the club’s unexpected dip in form. But the Germany forward crossed for Vidal to score from close range, and Robben played a one-two with fellow substitute Douglas Costa to seal it.
Robert Lewandowski and Mueller came closest for the side in the first half and Lewandowski struck the post in the second.
“We would have deserved a point. That’s why this defeat hurts,” said Ingolstadt coach Maik Walpurgis, whose side remains second last.
LEIPZIG 0, HAMBURGER SV 3
Leipzig slumped to its first defeat at home in the Bundesliga after an impressive performance from relegation-threatened Hamburg.
The on-loan Kyriakos Papadopoulos, who claimed the winner against parent club Bayer Leverkusen last weekend, opened the scoring with a thumping header to a corner at Leipzig. Papadopoulos first joined Leipzig on loan from Leverkusen before switching to Hamburg in the winter transfer period.
Walace claimed the second from another corner in the 24th for the Brazilian’s first Bundesliga goal. Again, Papadopoulos was in the thick of the action.
Nicolas Mueller set up Aaron Hunt to seal the victory in injury time as Hamburg left the relegation zone.
BAYER LEVERKUSEN 3, EINTRACHT FRANKFURT 0
Sky TV reported before the game that Leverkusen’s board of directors decided to fire Roger Schmidt regardless of Saturday’s result, but the coach’s position will be strengthened after a comprehensive defeat of high-flying Frankfurt.
Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez opened the scoring early with a volley after Kai Havertz eluded four Frankfurt defenders, and the rebound from an attempted clearance fell kindly for the striker.
Another volley made it 2-0 after the hour-mark. Karim Bellarabi didn’t let Kevin Kampl’s cross touch the ground and neither did Chicharito for his second goal.
Substitute Kevin Volland sealed the win with a quarter-hour remaining.
“That looked very much like our game,” Schmidt said.
DARMSTADT 2, BORUSSIA DORTMUND 1
Dortmund has goalkeeper Roman Buerki to thank for preventing a heavier defeat.
Terrence Boyd fired the home side into a deserved 21st-minute lead when Marcel Heller pulled the ball past four stranded Dortmund defenders.
Raphael Guerreiro equalized with a fine strike before the break.
Substitute Antonio-Mirko Colak restored Darmstadt’s lead with more than 20 minutes remaining and the home side might have scored more – Buerki pushed Colak’s strike onto the crossbar and saved from Jan Rosenthal, who earlier hit the post, before Mattias Ginter cleared off the line.
Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel hoped for improvement at Benfica in the Champions League on Tuesday.
SCHALKE 2, HERTHA BERLIN 0
Goals set up by Nabil Bentaleb gave Schalke a deserved win to move 11th and deny the disappointing visitors the chance to go third.
WERDER BREMEN 0, BORUSSIA MOENCHENGLADBACH 1
Thorgan Hazard’s early strike through a counterattack set up by Christoph Kramer was enough for the visitors to climb to ninth and leave Bremen in the relegation zone.