Leverkusen slay Bremen to return to Bundesliga summit
Strikes from Alex Grimaldo, Jeremie Frimpong and an own goal lifted Bayer Leverkusen to a 3-0 win at Werder Bremen on Saturday and a return to the top of the Bundesliga.
Xabi Alonso's men started the match in second place after Harry Kane scored in Bayern Munich's 1-0 victory over Cologne on Friday, but won comfortably and will end the weekend two points clear atop the table.
Leverkusen have won 17 and drawn one of their 18 fixtures in all competitions this season.
"We are in a great dynamic," Leverkusen midfielder Granit Xhaka told Sky Germany.
"We're playing well and everything is going in the right direction at the moment.
"We've a team that listens, that pushes itself to the limit, and that's the only way to win."
Leverkusen were gifted the opener as Bremen midfielder Olivier Deman scored a bizarre early own goal, with the Belgian miscontrolling a cross and the ball bobbling into the far corner.
Frimpong added a second just before halftime, blasting into the top corner.
Bremen's Marvin Ducksch, fresh off making his Germany debut, looked to have cut the lead by scoring on the counter in the second half, but the goal was chalked off by VAR for offside.
Grimaldo sealed the result with a third with 15 minutes remaining for his fourth goal in his past three league matches.
In Saturday's late game, goals from Deniz Undav in the first and last minutes of the opening half took Stuttgart to a 2-1 win at Eintracht Frankfurt.
Stuttgart's Waldemar Anton conceded a freak own goal, the ball bouncing off his head and into the net, in the first half but Frankfurt lacked energy.
Frankfurt, who lost their first home match for over a year, were clearly missing the support of their fans, who walked out in protest over claims of heavy-handed police controls at the stadium before the game.
"It wasn't our best game but we showed our mentality and fought hard," Undav said.
The win allowed Stuttgart, who narrowly avoided relegation last year, to consolidate third place behind Leverkusen and Bayern.
Elsewhere, Borussia Dortmund came from two goals down to win 4-2 at home against Borussia Moenchengladbach.
"It definitely isn't boring with us," a relieved Dortmund coach Edin Terzic told reporters.
"To come back from 2-0 down after 28 minutes, with that energy and that spirit, I can only compliment my team."
Dortmund conceded after 13 minutes, Rocco Reitz slicing through some lazy defence and sliding home the opener.
Gladbach doubled their lead shortly after, Manu Kone rocketing in a long-range shot.
Dortmund, winless in the league since mid-October, then kickstarted a remarkable turnaround, scoring twice in two minutes through Marcel Sabitzer and Niclas Fuellkrug to level the scores.
Jamie Bynoe-Gittens gave Dortmund the lead shortly before halftime, the English teenager finding the corner of the net from a Fuellkrug pass.
Dortmund's Donyell Malen added a fourth in the final seconds of the match, racing away to score into an empty net after Gladbach 'keeper Moritz Nicolas went up for a corner.
4 Goals, 3 Points ✅ pic.twitter.com/KBJASjsZbk— Borussia Dortmund (@BlackYellow) November 25, 2023
In the German capital, Union Berlin ended a nine-match losing streak in the league with a 1-1 draw against Augsburg.
Union were playing for the first time without coach Urs Fischer after the Swiss left by mutual agreement after over five years in charge.
Kevin Volland scored in the 88th minute to grab a point for Union after falling behind to an Ermedin Demirovic penalty before the break.
RB Leipzig were dealt a blow ahead of Tuesday's Champions League trip to Manchester City, losing 2-1 at Wolfsburg.
Freiburg were held 1-1 at home by struggling Darmstadt.