RB Leipzig extend their record unbeaten run to knock Bayern Munich from top spot again, Dortmund’s stars hit form and Timo Werner’s dive sparks fresh debate about video refereeing.
Here are five things we learned from the thirteenth round of matches in the Bundesliga:
Werner’s dive sparks fresh debate
Leaders RB Leipzig were awarded a controversial penalty just 19 seconds into Saturday’s 2-1 win over Schalke 04, which sparked fresh debate about the need for video referees in the Bundesliga.
RB’s striker Timo Werner appeared to have been tripped in the area by Ralf Faehrmann, which earned a booking for the Schalke goalkeeper, but replays showed there was no contact.
Werner later admitted diving, but insisted he immediately told referee Bastian Dankert there was no contact — the official later denied the conversation took place — and the Leipzig forward converted the spot kick.
“After studying the replays, I have to say it was the wrong decision. There was no conversation with Werner,” said Dankert.
Faehrmann backed up the striker: “Werner said to me ‘Ralf, you didn’t touch me’. The referee was a metre away. He must have heard it.”
After Leverkusen were awarded a goal in October 2013 when the ball went in via a hole in the side netting, several pundits here again want to see video referees introduced sooner than later.
Leverkusen can’t convert penalties
Bayer Leverkusen, who host Monaco in the Champions League on Wednesday, have failed to convert all four penalties they have been awarded this season following Javier Hernandez’s latest blunder.
‘Chicharito’ fired his 88th-minute spot kick at the boots of Freiburg goalkeeper Alexander Schowolow as it finished 1-1 in Leverkusen.
It was the second time Hernandez had failed with a penalty after hitting the post in September’s 2-1 defeat to Frankfurt.
Charles Aranguiz (in September’s goalless draw with Augsburg) and Hakan Calhanoglu (in November’s 3-2 defeat to Leipzig) have also failed with spot kicks this season.
“At some point the bloody ball has to finally go in after a penalty,” fumed midfielder Kevin Kampl.
Rolls Reus, ‘Auba’ hit top gear
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored twice and Marco Reus weighed in with three assists as Borussia Dortmund routed Moenchengladbach 4-1.
Reus hit a hat-trick in the 8-4 win a fortnight ago against Legia Warsaw — a Champions League record result — on his return after six months out with an adductor injury and he was again outstanding.
Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel described the win over Gladbach as “a complete performance in all departments” as Ousmane Dembele and Lukasz Piszczek also scored to leave Dortmund sixth.
Aubameyang is the league’s top scorer with 15 goals — six more than Bayern Munich hot-shot’s Robert Lewandowski, who scored twice in Friday’s 3-1 win at Mainz.
Ancelotti takes the Pep approach
Carlo Ancelotti took a few leafs from predecessor Pep Guardiola’s book in Bayern’s win at Mainz.
Ancelotti played a four-man attack, deployed veteran wingers Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben either side of Robert Lewandowski and played Thomas Mueller as an attacking midfielder.
All three changes were trademark Guardiola selections, which paid off with Mueller calling the shots as Lewandowski (twice) and Robben grabbed the goals.
“It was the key to our success,” said Robben.
Bayern’s Munich showdown on December 21 against RB Leipzig promises to be a cracker.
Wolfsburg drop want-away Draxler
Europe’s top clubs will be monitoring Germany forward Julian Draxler.
The 23-year-old, who cost Wolfsburg 35 million euros ($37.3m) in August 2015, was dropped for the first time for Saturday’s 3-2 home defeat against Hertha Berlin.
He has only shone on rare occasions this season and was booed when he came on for the last 12 minutes.
“I can understand the fans. They have every right to do that. I said in the summer the way I feel and I stand by that,” said Draxler, who told Wolfsburg in August that he wants to leave.
Juventus, Arsenal and Paris St-Germain have all previously expressed interest in the precocious attacking midfielder.