Berlin, Feb 12: Borussia Dortmund edged Bayer Leverkusen 1-0 to extend its unbeaten run to 15 games on Saturday, and Bayern Munich beat Kaiserslautern 2-0 to keep the pressure on the Bundesliga leader.
Shinji Kagawa's moment of magic in the 45th minute was enough in Dortmund for the defending champions, who remain two points ahead of second-place Bayern.
"There are still 13 games. And the team who can actually be trusted to win all 13 games is Bayern Munich," said Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp. "So we're not bothering ourselves with that. We're very happy and always looking to the next game. That's what makes us successful."
Mario Gomez opened the scoring in Munich with his league-leading 18th goal of the season in the sixth minute, with Thomas Mueller making it 2-0 in the 30th.
Borussia Moenchengladbach stunned Schalke with three first-half goals to win the late game 3-0 and take over from the visitors in third, one point behind Bayern.
Marco Reus got the home side off to a flying start in the second minute, when he eluded two Schalke defenders to score inside the far post from a tight angle.
Mike Hanke then played a delicate one-two with Juan Arango before curling a shot beyond Lars Unnerstall in the 16th.
And Reus teed up an indirect free kick for Arango to stroke over the wall and in off the underside of the crossbar from 20 meters (yards) in the 32nd.
"I always said we weren't stable enough to mix it up (among the candidates) for the title," Schalke coach Huub Stevens said. "That was confirmed today."
Elsewhere, Stuttgart beat hapless Hertha Berlin 5-0, Werder Bremen drew 1-1 with Hoffenheim, and Mainz and Hannover also played to 1-1.
Dortmund toiled for long periods to break down the Leverkusen defense, but Kagawa finally made the breakthrough before the interval.
The Japan midfielder left Leverkusen defender Bastian Oczipka sprawling on the right as he brought the ball inside before shooting beyond the outstretched Bernd Leno in off the far post for his seventh goal of the season.
Former Germany captain Michael Ballack was left on the Leverkusen bench for the third game in a row following criticism of him by club management. Leverkusen hosts Barcelona in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Bayern's routine win over relegation-threatened Kaiserslautern — which hasn't won in Munich since 1997 — was Jupp Heynckes' 100th as Bayern coach.
The 66-year-old Heynckes played David Alaba for Bastian Schweinsteiger, who tore a right ankle ligament in Wednesday's 2-0 cup win at Stuttgart, and started with Arjen Robben on the bench for the second game in a row.
Franck Ribery noticed Gomez completely free at the near post and crossed for him to nod with ease past Kevin Trapp.
Kaiserslautern coach Marco Kurz said the early goal decided the game.
"The bottom line is we had no chance," Kurz said.
Mueller, who played on the right instead of Robben, scored his first league goal since September when he met Toni Kroos' free kick.
Mueller made way in the 56th for Robben, but the Dutch winger was unable to find a way past Trapp.
"Robben was highly motivated and he fit into the team seamlessly," Heynckes said. "That was very positive, but I expected it of him."
In Stuttgart, Vedad Ibisevic scored against Hertha in the 25th, with a scissors kick past the helpless Thomas Kraft from close range.
It was the Bosnian's first goal for his new club since his winter transfer from Hoffenheim, and he followed it up by playing a perfect pass for Martin Harnik to make it 2-0 three minutes later.
Hertha midfielder Andreas Ottl was then sent off for a senseless challenge on Tamas Hajnal in the 30th, and Shinji Okazaki effectively ended the game when he scored with a header two minutes later.
Ibisevic set up Harnik again in the 41st and the Austrian celebrated his hat trick in the 58th.
It was Hertha coach Michael Skibbe's fifth loss in a row in all competitions since he took over from the sacked Markus Babbel.
"I'm terribly disappointed with the performance we delivered," Skibbe said. "It was an absolute catastrophe."
Babbel, meanwhile, got off to a dream start in charge of Hoffenheim, when Jannik Vestergaard rose unopposed to head in a corner at Bremen in the fourth minute. However, Marko Arnautovic claimed a deserved last-minute equalizer for the home side.
Babbel was appointed Hoffenheim coach on Friday, after Holger Stanislawski was fired a day earlier.
Hannover also relied on a 90th-minute equalizer, Artur Sobiech scoring to earn a share of the points at Mainz, which had taken the lead through Mohamed Zidan in the seventh.