Javier Hernandez hat trick carries Leverkusen, Bayern cruise to win
Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez scored a hat trick to increase his remarkable scoring record to guide Bayer Leverkusen to a 5-0 win over Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday.
The Mexico international now has scored 15 goals in 12 appearances in all competitions since joining Leverkusen from Manchester United in the summer.
Stefan Kiessling also netted two goals and added two assists for Hernandez as Leverkusen became the first team to beat Andre Schubert's Borussia Monchengladbach in the Bundesliga.
Kiessling put the Werkself in front after half an hour. Roberto Hilbert delivered the chance for him, but he still had to be quick to meet the cross with his head before Tony Jantschke and guide it in from close range.
In the second half, Kiessling backheeled the ball to Hernandez, who dribbled his way into a shooting position and beat Yann Sommer to make it two for Leverkusen.
Kiessling then exemplified his newfound confidence by meeting Hakan Calhanoglu's corner with a powerful header to make it three midway through the second half.
Gladbach's heads dropped and Hernandez took full advantage, completing his hat trick with two goals in as many minutes. Kiessling was provider of his first, sending him through to beat Sommer with an angled shot, and Karim Bellarabi presented him with Leverkusen's fifth and Hernandez's 10th Bundesliga goal of the season.
Bayern Munich ensured they will be leading the Bundesliga going into 2016 with a hard-fought 2-0 victory over Bavarian rivals Ingolstadt.
Pep Guardiola's men were up against it in the first half, but Robert Lewandowski settled their nerves 10 minutes into the second half and Philipp Lahm added a second 10 minutes later.
The win gives Bayern an eight-point advantage over Borussia Dortmund at the top of the table and, although the Westphalians have a game in hand, they cannot now catch the champions, who have one game left before the winter break.
Wolfsburg failed to get the better of their northern rivals Hamburg as they could only secure a 1-1 draw.
Nicolai Muller gave Hamburg a deserved lead early on, but Wolfsburg eventually took charge of the game and found an equaliser through Maximilian Arnold in the 78th minute.
Despite their efforts, the Wolves were unable to find a winner as they dropped points at home for the second game running.
Hertha Berlin continued their push for a place in Europe next season with a convincing 4-0 win at a faltering Darmstadt.
Vedad Ibisevic had no trouble in getting past a rather rusty-looking Aytac Sulu before putting Hertha in front after 12 minutes with his fifth goal of the season.
Marvin Plattenhardt doubled the Old Lady's lead in the 26th minute with a 30-yard free-kick which he curled over the wall and into the corner of Christian Mathenia's net for his first goal for high-flying Hertha.
Mathenia gifted Hertha their third five minutes into the second half when he failed to come out to meet a corner and got stranded off his line, allowing John Anthony Brooks to tee up Ibisevic to score into the open goal.
Salomon Kalou added the fourth in the 77th minute for Pal Dardai's men, who reinforced their push for a European place.
Cologne snatched a 1-1 draw from their trip to struggling Werder Bremen with a controversial late goal from Dusan Svento denying Bremen a crucial win.
Jannik Vestergaard gave Bremen a flying start, heading in Clemens Fritz's corner in the fourth minute.
They could have had a second before half-time when former Cologne forward Anthony Ujah went down inside the penalty area and earned his side a questionable penalty, but his effort was saved by Timo Horn, perhaps restoring justice.
There was more controversy later in the game and it was Cologne who benefitted this time with Svento scoring after being in an offside position when Yuya Osako's initial shot was struck. Bremen's complaints were waved away, as were two points which they could have dearly done with.
Hoffenheim moved off the bottom thanks to a 1-0 win over fellow strugglers Hannover.
Ceyhun Gulselam's header hit the crossbar and the post before coming out to safety as Hoffenheim rode their luck before taking the lead when Tarik Elyounoussi's cross was met by Jonathan Schmid.