MILAN (AP) – Schalke failed to take advantage of Bayern Munich 's slip in Nurnberg as they were beaten 2-0 by Bayer Leverkusen to see their deficit on the summit increase to eight points.
Andre Schurrle and Stefan Kiessling scored the goals for Leverkusen, who also missed a penalty late on, but held on for three points which take them to within two points of their opponents and four ahead of Hannover as a group of five clubs start to move clear at the top of the Bundesliga.
To make matters worse for Schalke, they ended the game with 10 men with Kyriakos Papadopoulos getting an eight-minute head-start on his team mates for a place under the shower.
Borussia Dortmund made light work of Greuther Furth at the Westfalenstadion with Robert Lewandowski and Mario Gotze seeing them to victory.
Lewandowski struck first, giving Jurgen Klopp's side the lead in the third minute, although their advantage lasted only two minutes before Zoltan Stieber levelled.
Lewandowski restored Dortmund's lead in the 15th minute before Gotze made it 3-1 just before half-time, before a goalless second half.
Freiburg picked up a deserved victory in Hannover and became only the second team to win in the Bundesliga at the Niedersachsenstadion in over a year.
Jonathan Schmid gave Christian Streich's side the lead in the 11th minute only for Mohammed Abdellaoue to level from the penalty spot in the 33rd minute.
Jan Rosenthal earned Freiburg all three points with his goal in the 56th minute as Hannover could not find an answer for a second time.
Stuttgart turned the tables on Borussia Monchengladbach as victory at the Borussia Park Stadion made amends for last weekend's defeat to Hannover, in which the Swabians threw away a two-goal lead.
Former Stuttgart defender Martin Stranzl put the hosts in front in the seventh minute, but Martin Harnik levelled instantly for Bruno Labbadia's men.
An own goal from Roel Brouwers in the 72nd minute gave Stuttgart a deserved lead, which they held on to this time.
Alexander Meier kept up his challenge at the top of the Bundesliga goalscoring charts with two more goals as Eintracht Frankfurt downed basement boys Augsburg .
An own goal from Sascha Molders put Armin Veh's side on their way to victory and Stefan Aigner doubled their lead in the 32nd minute.
Ja-cheol Koo gave Augsburg a glimmer of hope with a goal just before the break, but Meier's eighth goal of the season restored Frankfurt's two-goal advantage in the 52nd minute.
Molders scored at the right end in the 64th minute as Augsburg came back at Frankfurt, but midfielder Meier's ninth goal of the season from the penalty spot in the 75th minute saw off the Bavarian club's challenge.
Hamburg got the better of Mainz in a tense battle at the HSV-Arena, with a second-half goal from Heung-min Song earning Thorsten Fink's side all three points.
There were few chances between two sides who did not appear to want to do each other any harm, resulting in a tactical exchange which was decided in the 63rd minute by the South Korean midfielder.
The result took Hamburg level on points with their opponents with both sides still well-positioned just below the top six places.