The big winners on the weekend didn't even kick a ball (in league play) in anger. While they were off winning the Club World Cup, Bayern Munich saw their lead over their next three challengers stay virtually the same. Now, they have a game in hand. Oh boy.
Friday, December 20
Eintracht Frankfurt 1-1 Augsburg
The match started slowly, and it was the visitors that struck first. Pirmin Schwegler's defensive header somehow went to Raul Bobadilla, and he scored to give Augsburg an important lead. Frankfurt kicked into gear with several attempts that brought nice saves out of Marwin Hitz. Just before halftime, Schwegler helped his own side score a goal. His cross eventually found it's way to Jan Rosenthal, and he smashed a volley into the back of the net to equalize. In the second half, Augsburg eventually turned the screws on Frankfurt defensively and didn't allow any clear cut opportunities. The two sides split the points.
Saturday, December 21
Borussia Dortmund 1-2 Hertha Berlin
Is there a team that need that winter break more than BVB? Hertha gave the hosts their third straight Bundesliga loss at home for the first time since 2000. Sami Allagui scored the winning goal for Hertha to move them back into European contention. BVB already have five losses on the season. Last season, when they finished 25 points behind Bayern in the table, they only lost six matches.
Werder Bremen 1-0 Bayer Leverkusen
One week after a disappointing loss to Frankfurt, Leverkusen were happy to outdo themselves with a loss to Werder heading into the winter break. Leverkusen were simply unable to put their ball into the back of the net. They had ample opportunities, but poor finishing and Raphael Wolfe prevented Die Werkself from finding a goal. Werder found their lone tally after a strong counterattack led by Aaron Hunt. Simon Rolfes did well enough to poke the ball away from Cedric Makiadi, but Santiago Garcia grabbed the loose ball and beat Bernd Leno for the 1-0 victory.
Freiburg 2-1 Hannover
Freiburg needed a big victory on Saturday, and his side figured out a way to give it to manager Christian Streich. The 2-1 victory over Hannover lifts Freiburg out of a direct relegation spot and puts them into the relegation playoff. Admir Mehmedi scored twice to give Freiburg the two goal lead, and they managed to hold on late after Leonardo Bittencourt pulled on back for Hannover.
Hamburg 2-3 Mainz
Hamburg opened the scoring twenty minutes into the match win Maximilian Beister found Hakan Calhanoglu, and he beat Loris Karius for the early goal. The second half was all about Shinji Okazaki. He scored two minutes after halftime, and then he assisted on the go ahead goal by Nicolai Müller. Rafael van der Vaart gave Hamburg the lead with a toe poke, but Hamburg went down a man shortly thereafter when Tomas Ricon was sent off for a dumb handball and his second yellow. Okazaki wasn't finished yet, and the Japanese international took all three points for Mainz with a goal in the dying minutes.
Eintracht Braunschweig 1-0 Hoffenheim
Eintracht decided that they didn't want to be the only team left standing with single digit points, so Torsten Oehrl converted a penalty kick to give them a 1-0 win over Hoffenheim.
Schalke held Nürnberg to zero goals to deny Der Club their first win of the Bundesliga season. However, unfortunately for Die Königsblauen, they forgot to score in the match. In what was described as many as "awful" "boring" and "terrible, Schalke and Nürnberg played to a scoreless draw.
Sunday, December 22
Borussia Mönchengladbach 2-2 Wolfsburg
Gladbach dropped points at home for the first time this season in a 2-2 draw with Wolfsburg in Sunday's lone match. Both sides exchanged chances early with Ivica Olic, Maximilian Arnold, and Max Kruse failing to find the opening goal. They would go into the break scoreless. Diego opened the scoring in the second half with a poke past Marc Andre ter Stegen. Shortly after the goal, Gladbach had an equalizer through Raffael. The crowd barely had a chance to catch their breath when another goal was scored. Juan Arango scored one of patented "great goals", and Gladbach were back on top. With the minutes ticking away, Gladbach looked primed to take a three point lead over BVB for third place in the table. However, Bas Dost would sneak in the box and poke home the equalizer with five minutes remaining to split the points.