Bayern's rivals slump to shock defeats
Bremen's defender Santiago Garcia celebrates his goal during a German first division Bundesliga match against Bayer Leverkusen in Bremen, northern Germany, on December 21, 2013
On the final German league weekend of 2013 before the winter break, Bayern were absent in Morocco preparing to take on Raja Casablanca on Saturday night in Marrakech in the Club World Cup final.
Leverkusen and Dortmund's defeats means Pep Guardiola's Bayern can go ten points clear if they beat VfB Stuttgart in their catch-up fixture on January 29.
Second-placed Leverkusen fell to a late goal at strugglers Werder Bremen, whose Argentinian right-back Santiago Garcia stabbed his shot home to give Bremen a first win in six games.
Borussia Dortmund's poor league form continued with a 2-1 defeat loss to Hertha Berlin, their third straight home defeat, which threatens to see them finish the weekend outside the automatic Champions League places.
Despite reaching the knock-out stages in Europe as group winners, Dortmund have picked up just four points in their last six league games.
Borussia took an early lead at home to Hertha Berlin when captain Sebastian Kehl put through a superb ball for Marco Reus to chase and with his first touch, the Germany winger put his shot past 18-year-old Hertha goalkeeper Marius Gersbeck, who was making his Bundesliga debut.
But Hertha got back on level terms when striker Adrian Ramos hit his 11th goal of the season after Hertha's Sami Allagui pounced on a mistake to put in a cross for the Colombia forward to convert on 23 minutes.
Tunisia forward Allagui then gave Hertha the lead by pouncing on a mistake by Dortmund's 18-year-old centre-back Marian Sarr, rounding Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller and firing into an empty net on the stroke of half-time.
Borussia coach Jurgen Klopp substituted the clearly distressed Sarr for the start of the second-half, moving left-back Kevin Grosskreutz into centre-back, but his side failed to grab a precious equaliser despite seven minutes of added time.
Dortmund stay third but will drop to fourth if Borussia Moenchengladbach pick up at least a point at home to VfL Wolfsburg on Sunday.
On Saturday evening, Nuremberg, the only team in a major European league without a win so far this season, are bidding to finish 2013 with a maiden victory to move off the bottom of the table when they host Schalke.
Eintracht Braunschweig went above Nuremberg with a 1-0 win over Hoffenheim while Freiburg extended Hanover 96's appalling away record to eight consecutive defeats with a 2-1 win to help the hosts in their bid to escape the bottom three.
Swiss striker Admir Mehmedi scored two first-half goals to leave Hanover with just one win in their last nine games as Freiburg broke their five-match losing streak before Hanover scored an equaliser through Leonardo Bittencourt.
Japan striker Shinji Okazaki hit a late winner after Mainz 05 had scored two goals in three minutes to bounce back from conceding an early goal for a 3-2 win at ten-man Hamburg.
Hamburg's Turkey midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu gave the hosts the lead with 21 minutes gone before Okazaki hit Mainz's first on 47 minutes before Germany's Nicolai Mueller grabbed their second three minutes later.
Netherlands midfielder Rafael van der Vaart looked to have save Hamburg's blushes with an equaliser 11 minutes from time as the hosts finished with ten men after Venezualan midfielder Tomas Rincon was sent off late on after being shown a second yellow card.
But with 94 minutes on the clock Okazaki grabbed his second of the game for a win to lift Mainz to ninth.