Borussia Moenchengladbach maintained their four-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga on Sunday as Patrick Herrmann scored twice in an emphatic 3-1 home win over Werder Bremen.
RB Leipzig, who won at Hertha Berlin, and defending champions Bayern Munich, who routed Dortmund 4-0 at the Allianz Arena, had both trimmed Gladbach’s lead to just a point with their victories on Saturday.
Gladbach finished with 10 men after goalscorer Ramy Bensebaini was sent off late on for a second yellow card before Bremen midfielder Leonardo Bittencourt netted a late goal deep into added time.
It was a weekend to remember for Herrmann, whose wife gave birth to their first child on Friday.
“Before the match, I hadn’t noticed that the birth had given me a big boost,” said Herrmann.
“I’m going to pick them up from the hospital afterwards.”
Hosts Gladbach took the lead with two goals inside 107 seconds.
Midfielder Laszlo Benes whipped in a free-kick and left-back Bensebaini out-jumped the Bremen defence to power home his header on 20 minutes.
The second followed almost immediately from a counter-attack, when French striker Marcus Thuram drew Bremen goalkeeper Jiri Pavlenka to present Herrmann with a simple tap-in.
Yuya Osako looked to have halved the lead with 28 minutes gone when Bremen’s Japan forward hit the net, the goal was disallowed by VAR for a foul in the build-up.
At the start of the second half, home captain Yann Sommer saved a penalty attempt by Bremen skipper Davy Klaassen on 54 minutes.
Herrmann made it 3-0 by firing home on the hour mark.
With time almost up, Bensebaini picked up a second yellow card for fouling Bittencourt, having also been booked while giving away the penalty Klaassen failed to convert.
Gladbach will have been top for a month by the time they play their next game at newly-promoted Union Berlin in two weeks’ time.
Freiburg go fourth
Later on Sunday, Freiburg went fourth – level on points with Leipzig and Bayern - after a 1-0 home win over nine-man Eintracht Frankfurt, with three red cards dished out at the Schwarzwald Stadion.
Freiburg striker Nils Petersen scored the hosts’ winner 13 minutes from time, but Frankfurt played the second half with 10 men after defender Gelson Fernandes was shown a second yellow card just before half-time.
There were ugly scenes at the end of a tense match as Frankfurt captain David Abraham was shown a straight red for barging into and knocking over Freiburg coach Christian Streich on the sidelines.
Freiburg winger Vincenzo Grifo, who had been substituted on 57 minutes, also saw a red card on the bench for grabbing Abraham by the throat in the ensuing melee.
Earlier, mid-table Bayer Leverkusen backed up their mid-week Champions League win over Atletico Madrid with a 2-0 victory at Wolfsburg with goals by Karim Bellarabi and substitute Paulinho.
Having been second in the table in mid-October, Wolfsburg are now 10th after four straight defeats in all competitions.
Bellarabi put Leverkusen ahead on 25 minutes by powering into the area and firing home, before Brazilian midfielder Paulinho came on to add a second goal six minutes into added time.
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