- POSTED: 22 Dec 2013 01:57
- UPDATED: 22 Dec 2013 02:35
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Bayern Munich's main rivals failed to dent the European champions' seven-point lead in the Bundesliga with Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Dortmund both suffering shock defeats on Saturday.
BERLIN: Bayern Munich's main rivals failed to dent the European champions' seven-point lead in the Bundesliga with Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Dortmund both suffering shock defeats on Saturday.
On the final German league weekend of 2013 before the winter break, Bayern were absent in Morocco preparing to take on Raja Casablanca on Saturday night in Marrakech in the Club World Cup final.
Leverkusen and Dortmund's defeats means Pep Guardiola's Bayern can go ten points clear if they beat VfB Stuttgart in their catch-up fixture on January 29.
Second-placed Leverkusen fell to a late goal at strugglers Werder Bremen, whose Argentinian right-back Santiago Garcia stabbed his shot home to give Bremen a first win in six games.
"It's a bit annoying that we go into the winter break on the back of two defeats," said Leverkusen coach Sami Hyypia after Bayer were shocked 1-0 by Eintracht Frankfurt last Sunday.
"We controlled the game, but we didn't score a goal and lacked a bit of belief.
"It leaves a bitter taste in the mouth, but all in all we can be happy with the first half of the season."
Borussia Dortmund's poor league form continued with a 2-1 defeat to Hertha Berlin, their third straight home defeat, which threatens to see them finish the weekend outside the automatic Champions League places.
Despite reaching the knock-out stages in Europe as group winners, Dortmund have picked up just four points in their last six league games.
"We allowed our opponents to get back in the game and didn't take our chances in the second half," lamented Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp.
"Hertha got brave and realised there was something to be had after the second goal, while we allowed ourselves to become too hectic."
Borussia took an early lead at home to Hertha Berlin when captain Sebastian Kehl put through a superb ball for Marco Reus to chase and with his first touch, the Germany winger put his shot past 18-year-old Hertha goalkeeper Marius Gersbeck, who was making his Bundesliga debut.
But Hertha got back on level terms when striker Adrian Ramos hit his 11th goal of the season after Hertha's Sami Allagui put in a cross for the Colombia forward to convert on 23 minutes.
Tunisia forward Allagui then gave Hertha the lead by pouncing on a mistake by Dortmund's teenaged centre-back Marian Sarr, rounding Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller and firing into an empty net on the stroke of half-time.
Klopp substituted the clearly distressed Sarr for the start of the second-half, moving left-back Kevin Grosskreutz into centre-back, but his side failed to grab a precious equaliser despite seven minutes of added time.
Dortmund stay third but will drop to fourth if Borussia Moenchengladbach pick up at least a point at home to VfL Wolfsburg on Sunday.
On Saturday evening, Nuremberg, the only team in a major European league without a win so far this season, are bidding to finish 2013 with a maiden victory to move off the bottom of the table when they host Schalke.
Eintracht Braunschweig went above Nuremberg with a 1-0 win over Hoffenheim while Freiburg extended Hanover 96's appalling away record to eight consecutive defeats with a 2-1 win to help the hosts in their bid to escape the bottom three.
Japan striker Shinji Okazaki hit a late winner after Mainz 05 had scored two goals in three minutes to bounce back from conceding an early goal for a 3-2 win at ten-man Hamburg.