Marco Reus' hat trick leads Dortmund
Borussia Dortmund bounced straight back from a home defeat to Hamburg last week by seeing off fourth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt 3-0 on Saturday, despite playing with 10 men for the second week in a row.
Marco Reus singlehandedly dismantled the Eagles with a hat trick for the defending German champions, who move back to within 15 points of runaway league leader Bayern Munich.
The Germany international netted two goals in as many first-half minutes before adding a third midway through the second half after Julian Schieber had been given his marching orders.
Frankfurt also ended the game with 10 men after Takashi Inui saw red in the 74th minute, compounding a disappointing evening for Armin Veh's men.
Dortmund was quick out of the blocks with Reus setting up Jakub Blaszczykowski for an early chance which the Poland international failed to take.
In the eighth minute, Reus put the Westphalians in front thanks to a fine pass from Mario Gotze to pick him out inside the penalty area.
The Westfalenstadion was still celebrating that goal when Reus made it two, slotting the ball inside the right-hand post with Mats Hummels the provider.
Dortmund did not appear to have learned from the reverse fixture, which they also led 2-0 before only drawing 3-3, and lifted its foot off the accelerator.
Dortmund then lost Schieber to two yellow cards in just four minutes as he followed the example of the man he replaced, the suspended Robert Lewandowski, by heading for an early bath on the half-hour mark.
The red card seemed to drive a point home for Dortmund, which raised uts guard in preparation for a Frankfurt onslaught. That did not materialize, however, and Gotze and Reus combined once again in the 65th minute to put the result beyond doubt.
Frankfurt then lost Inui to a second yellow card as he tugged Hummels' shirt, and Veh realized there was no chance of a recovery as he replaced Srdjan Lakic and Sebastian Rode, giving Karim Matmour and Stefano Celozzi a rare piece of the action.
Bayer Leverkusen snapped a three-game winless streak with a hard-fought 2-1 home victory over relegation-threatened Augsburg to remain in the running for second place in the Bundesliga.
Stefan Kiessling opened the scoring for Leverkusen in the 26th minute and Lars Bender doubled the advantage 15 minutes from time.
Sascha Molders made things interesting by pulling a goal back for the visitors in the 89th minute, but they could not force an equalizer.
The result lifted Leverkusen to within 16 points of leader Bayern Munich, and meant Augsburg remained second-bottom after suffering its first loss since the winter break.
Michael Bastos scored a brace as Schalke twice came from behind to snatch an away point at Mainz, drawing 2-2.
Mainz went ahead through Andreas Ivanschitz in the 27th minute, but Bastos leveled four minutes before the break.
Zdenek Pospech restored the hosts' lead midway through the second half, but Bastos ensured the visitors a draw with eight minutes left.
Rafael van der Vaart's brilliant first-half goal proved decisive as Hamburg boosted its hopes of European football with a narrow 1-0 triumph over Borussia Monchengladbach.
The Holland midfielder dispatched a fine effort into the top-left corner from outside the box in the 24th minute. The result lifted HSV to sixth spot in the standings -- four points ahead of ninth-placed Gladbach -- after 22 games.
Freiburg twice saw Werder Bremen equalize before finally taking the lead and finishing off the 3-2 victory in a wild match, recording its first win over Bremen in 11 years.
Daniel Caligiuri made it 2-1 to the visitors from the penalty spot in the 55th minute, and although Petersen's second tied it up again nine minutes later, Christian Gunter's 70th minute strike finally settled it.