Borussia Dortmund beat Werder Bremen 3-1 on Friday, threatening the Bundesliga leader's hold on first place.
Bremen, after a draw last week against Cottbus, could be passed by Stuttgart if the German league's youngest team beats Hannover today. Schalke also could have pulled even with Bremen by winning yesterday.
Bremen, which has played its starters nonstop during a heavy schedule including the Champions League and German Cup, looked lethargic from the start. The defeat was its third this season.
The 42,000 fans at Bremen's Weserstadion couldn't boost the home team, which wasted chances or was thwarted by Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller.
"We were too passive, that was clearly our mistake today," Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf said.
Schaaf said his team -- the league's highest scoring -- may have been too confident of its ability to produce a goal at will.
"Maybe we thought sometimes the score would come, but you only do that when you keep the pressure up," he said.
Bremen fell behind on Alexander Frei's seventh-minute header before Miroslav Klose leveled in the 29th. The Germany forward beat two defenders on the dribble, then Weidenfeller with a low shot.
Dortmund went ahead again in the 53rd, with Tinga heading in the team's first corner.
Dortmund weathered late chances by Bremen, with Klose going close twice, before Marc-Andre Kruska sealed the win with an 85th-minute penalty.
Dortmund moved to a provisional fourth in the standings.
French league leader Lyon needed late goals by defenders Cris and Sebastien Squillaci to beat Valenciennes 2-1 at home on Friday.
Five-time defending champion Lyon, which lost its first match of the season last weekend at Rennes, fell behind to a goal from Valenciennes forward Steve Savidan in the 76th minute.
Cris leveled in the 83rd with a looping header over goalkeeper Nicolas Penneteau, and Squillaci volleyed home the winner two minutes later following an error by Penneteau.
Lyon has 34 points from 13 games, and a 12-point lead over second-placed Nancy, which played at Lorient yesterday.
In the 14th minute, Lyon lost forward Karim Benzema to injury after he fell unchallenged clutching his knee, and was stretchered off.
Benzema, who was called up on Thursday to the France squad, could miss Wednesday's friendly against Greece. The 18-year-old was replaced for Lyon by veteran Sylvain Wiltord.
Lyon is also without Brazil striker Fred, who has a knee tear and is expected to be out until January.