Champions Borussia Dortmund demolished hosts Hamburg SV 5-1 with two goals each from Robert Lewandowski and Jakub Blaszczykowski on Sunday to join leaders Bayern Munich and Schalke 04 at the top of the Bundesliga on 37 points.
Their performance was a warning to title favorites Bayern that any slip-up, such as their 3-1 defeat to Borussia Moenchengladbach on Friday, would be costly.
“We had the chance to go up to 37 points today and we did exactly that,” Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp told reporters. “Everything worked well, but it was just one game. Now we move forward. The good thing is that we are ruthless in applying our game.”
In the only other match on Sunday, Champions League competitors Bayer 04 Leverkusen saw their two-goal lead evaporate in three minutes, but Lars Bender’s header in the 70th minute rescued a 3-2 win over FSV Mainz 05 to lift them to 29 points in sixth place.
Borussia gave the hosts, whose nine-game unbeaten run came to a crashing end, no chance and dominated from the start with dazzling pace, and Kevin Grosskreutz deservedly put them ahead in the 16th minute.
With Hamburg, who had not lost in the league since Oct. 2, having to deal with a full-pitch pressing game and a shaky defense, it did not take long for the champions to strike again.
Lewandowski picked up the ball on the left, beat two defenders and chipped the ball over charging goalkeeper Jaroslav Drobny for a two-goal cushion in the 37th minute.
The champions picked up where they had left off after the break, with Blaszczykowski thundering in a low drive on the hour after poor defending by the hosts.
The Poland international then converted a penalty 14 minutes from time, before his fellow countryman Lewandowski took advantage of yet another defensive blunder inside the box to fire in his 14th league goal of the season, while thousands of Hamburg fans left the stadium.
Paolo Guerrero scored a late consolation goal for Hamburg in the 86th minute.
Hamburg, who could do nothing to avoid their first league defeat under coach Thorsten Fink, dropped to 14th place, two points above the relegation zone.
“We delivered a bad game. We had far too much respect and I really do not know why,” Fink said. “We lacked courage and this is something we will need to work on this week.”