Freiburg failed to capitalize on Bayern Munich’s slide after being beaten 6-0 at Wolfsburg on Saturday, as Eintracht Frankfurt claimed second place in the Bundesliga with a 3-0 win over Schalke.
Champions Bayern could only draw 1-1 with now fifth-placed RB Leipzig on Friday as the German top-flight returned from the mid-season break.
Third-placed Union Berlin sealed a 3-1 comeback win at home to Hoffenheim, Bochum beat penultimate Hertha Berlin 3-1 and VfB Stuttgart drew 1-1 with Mainz in their opening game by Bruno Labbadia. Cologne host Werder Bremen in Saturday’s finale.
Wolfsburg stunned Freiburg after Patrick Wimmer scored in just the second minute and Jonas Wind scored twice before Yannick Gerhardt, Ridle Baku and Luca Waldschmidt scored, meaning Bayern’s lead remains at five points.
Freiburg coach Christian Streich told Sky: “We lost 6-0 and we didn’t have any chances. I can’t elaborate on the analysis, I have to review it.”
Hosts Frankfurt overcame fourth-placed Freiburg on goal difference following excellent shots from Jesper Lindström and Rafael Borré, as well as Aurélio Buta’s late strike, with a flattering result against bottom side Schalke.
The hapless Royal Blues now have the worst away record in Bundesliga history, not winning in 36 games.
Schalke striker Simon Terodde said: “It’s simple in football – you have to score when you have so many chances. Frankfurt were freezing. Three shots, three goals.”
On Sunday, seventh-placed Borussia Dortmund host Augsburg and Borussia Mönchengladbach host Bayer Leverkusen. The Bundesliga is also played on Tuesday and Wednesday with matchday 17, which marks the halfway point of the season.
Saturday’s results mean Bayern are officially ‘winter champions’ again as they will remain top mid-season no matter what happens during the week.
Freiburg got off to a bad start with Wolfsburg’s Wimmer leapfrogging the defense to slip home early.
The visitors threatened to equalize, but after two months without a competitive match they lost their rhythm due to the World Cup and the extra break in the Bundesliga.
The defense struggled as Wind reached for the ball before hesitant goalkeeper Mark Flekken nodded as he doubled from close range on 28 minutes.
The Dane scored again before the break when he headed home a cross with his knee as a light snow fell over Germany.
Gerhardt extended Wolfsburg’s lead in the second half with Wind again involved in the action, with Baku converting a cross at the far post before Waldschmidt’s late penalty.
Wolves climbed to sixth in the table after a fifth straight league win after recovering from a shaky start to the season under former Bayern manager Niko Kovac.