Borussia Dortmund beat strugglers Werder Bremen with second-half goals from Dan Axel Zagadou and teenage sensation Erling Haaland on Saturday for their fifth league win in the last six games which kept them firmly in title contention.
Zagadou volleyed in from a corner in the 52nd minute and 19-year-old Haaland tapped in for his ninth league goal in six Bundesliga matches in the 66th to continue his sensational scoring run since joining in the winter.
Haaland, who had also struck twice in the 2-1 victory over Paris St Germain in the Champions League in midweek, became the first player to score nine in his first six league games in Germany.
The Norwegian has scored a total of 12 goals in eight games in all competitions for the Ruhr valley club.
Dortmund, who struggled in the first half against a hard-working Werder, found their rhythm after the break and could have scored several more.
Werder managed to keep up for about an hour and had Haaland under control but ran out of steam as Dortmund moved up to 45 points in third place, three behind second-placed RB Leipzig, 5-0 winners against Schalke 04.
Bayern Munich are top on 49 points after their 3-2 win over Paderborn on Friday.
Borussia Moenchengladbach conceded a stoppage-time equaliser after missing numerous chances, hitting the woodwork and having a penalty saved by outstanding Hoffenheim keeper Oliver Baumann, to draw 1-1 and stay in fourth with a game in hand.
The game was briefly interrupted when Gladbach fans unfurled offensive banners targeting Hoffenheim major investor Dietmar Hopp. Gladbach's sports director Max Eberl had to intervene and the banners were removed to allow play to resume.
Dortmund fans this week were banned from travelling to Hoffenheim for the next two seasons for similar offensive banners and chants aimed at Hopp.
Hertha Berlin sank deeper into trouble after losing 5-0 at home against Cologne. Jhon Cordoba and Florian Kainz scored twice each for the visitors, leaving Hertha, who last week saw coach Juergen Klinsmann walk out after only 76 days in charge, in 14th place, six points above the relegation playoff spot.
Werder are anchored in 17th place following their sixth consecutive home defeat, a point above last-placed Paderborn.