Borussia Dortmund went top of the Bundesliga after a 4-0 home win over Eintracht Frankfurt, making the most of Bayern Munich's earlier 3-1 loss at Mainz on Saturday.
A double from Dutch forward Donyell Malen
and goals from English teenager Jude Bellingham
and veteran Mats Hummels
snared the three points for Dortmund, setting up a knife-edged title race with five games remaining.
With Bayern's game finishing an hour before kickoff in Dortmund, the home team knew a win would take it outright first on the table.
Bellingham settled Dortmund's nerves early, collecting a pass from Julian Brandt
pass before pirouetting and firing a shot home. Malen doubled up five minutes later, scoring for the fifth consecutive league match, before Hummels headed in a third just before halftime. Malen scored his second midway through the second half, again assisted by Karim Adeyemi
Unlike last week, where Dortmund gave away 2-0 and 3-2 leads against a 10-man Stuttgart to draw 3-3, there would be no late collapse as the home side leapfrogged Bayern into first by one point.
Dortmund has five more matches, three of which are at home, as its pursues its first league title in a decade.
Dortmund coach Edin Terzic
said "we showed how well we can play today," but would not bite when asked if his side was on the way to a title. "It was a really good step in the right direction."
Frankfurt's Oliver Glasner
lamented the home team's "brutal efficiency" and has now lost eight from eight against Dortmund.
'Mainz 'knockout' Bayern.' Bayern lost the lead after slumping to a 3-1 loss at Mainz, thanks to three goals in 14 minutes from the home side.
Mainz trailed 1-0 at halftime thanks to a first goal since October from Bayern's Sadio Mane
, but hit back through Ludovic Ajorque
, Leandro Barreiro
and Aaron Martin
Bayern has now won just two from seven since sacking head coach Julian Nagelsmann
for former Dortmund and Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel
in late March.
Speaking to German TV after the match, Tuchel said "they gave us a knockout," saying the side "had too much going on right now to fight back."
Tuchel said he would give his players three days off ahead of next week's clash against rock-bottom Hertha Berlin.
Mainz is now unbeaten in 10 league games and sporting director Martin Schmidt
said he was "at a loss for words" to explain his side's form. "It's unbelievable what the team is doing."
Bayern came into the match under heavy pressure, with the Bundesliga title the last trophy available after Wednesday's Champions League exit at the hands of Manchester City.
Mane, who sat out Bayern's last Bundesliga match through suspension following an altercation with teammate Leroy Sane
, headed a Joao Cancelo
cross past Robin Zentner
for the opener after 29 minutes.
Mainz, who was coached by Tuchel between 2009 and 2014, fought back after the break, Ajorque heading in from close range after Yann Sommer
failed to grasp a Lee Jae-sung
A shellshocked Bayern, who had controlled the game until that point, looked disorganized and Mainz took advantage by grabbing the lead through Barreiro just eight minutes later.
Martin added another six minutes after that to seal Mainz's third straight league win over Bayern at home. dwi/dj/mw/dmc
© Agence France-Presse