A Marco Reus hattrick gave 10-man Borussia Dortmund a 3-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday that kept the Bundesliga champions in second spot, a point ahead of Bayer Leverkusen who defeated Augsburg 2-1.
Midfielder Reus was the recipient of two defence-splitting passes early on and he sprinted clear both times to beat keeper Kevin Trapp as the hosts raced into a 2-0 lead by the 10th minute.
Dortmund, without suspended striker Robert Lewandowski, had Julian Schieber sent off for a second caution in the 31st minute.
They then had to soak up some pressure before delivering the decisive blow in the 65th minute.
It was Ilkay Guendogan's turn to slice open the Eintracht defence with a well-timed pass to Mario Goetze who turned and fed fellow Germany international Reus in the box to complete his treble and take his tally in the league this season to 11 goals.
"I am just happy to have won this game because Frankfurt were really difficult to play against," Reus told reporters.
"Even with 10 men we were very well organised at the back and waited for the break."
Numerical balance was restored when Eintracht's Takashi Inui received his marching orders in the 74th minute for a second yellow card.
"The sending-off made things very difficult for us especially after having played our Champions League game in midweek," said Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp, referring to a 2-2 draw at Shakhtar Donetsk.
"But we managed it well. My players worked extremely hard and the goals we scored were well executed."
Bayer Leverkusen 2 (Kiessling 26, L Bender 75) Augsburg 1 (Moelders 89)
Werder Bremen 2 (Petersen 39, 64) Freiburg 3 (M Kruse 36, Caligiuri 55-pen, Guenter 70)
Mainz 05 2 (Ivanschitz 27, Pospech 63) Schalke 04 2 (Bastos 41, 82)
Hamburg 1 (van der Vaart 24) Borussia M'gladbach 0
Fortuna Duesseldorf 1 (Bellinghausen 18) Greuther Fuerth 0
Borussia Dortmund 3 (Reus 8, 10, 65) Eintracht Frankfurt 0