Leaders Borussia Dortmund were handed their first defeat of the Bundesliga season on Tuesday when they crashed 2-1 at lowly Fortuna Dusseldorf in the 16th round.
Dodi Lukebakio opened the scoring on a fast attack and Jean Zimmer scored a stunner into the top left corner against a Dortmund team which only managed a consolation goal from super sub Paco Alcarer.
Dortmund’s league lead was reduced to six points over Borussia Moenchengladbach who beat second last Nuremberg 2-0 to maintain their 100 per cent home record.
The two meet for a topper on Friday in Dortmund and a Gladbach win there would reduce the gap to a mere three points into the winter break.
Elsewhere, Wolfsburg beat third-last Stuttgart 2-0 to climb into sixth, one ahead of Hertha Berlin who were held 2-2 by lowly Augsburg.
Dortmund had a 16th-minute goal from Marco Reus disallowed for offside and they were then more and more frustrated by Dusseldorf.
The hosts took the lead in the 22nd when Lukebakio, on loan from England’s Watford, took up Kevin Stoeger’s pinpoint pass, ran away from two defenders and beat Roman Buerki into the bottom left corner.
Takeshi Usami incredibly shot wide for the hosts from point-blank range in the 38th but it was 2-0 in the 56th when Zimmer smashed home into the far left top corner from outside the area.
The league top scorer Alcacer and Jaden Sancho came on and Alcacer headed his 12th season goal in the 81st (the 10th off the bench) but Dortmund were unable to get a second to remain unbeaten.
“They were very good on the counter. They played deep and we simply couldn’t find the opening,” Dortmund coach Lucien Favre told Sky TV.
“It is almost Christmas and we have played many matches. The team is very young and we are learning every day.”
The prestigious victory lifted Dusseldorf, who recently also drew 3-3 at champions Bayern Munich, out of the danger zone into 15th.
“It is nice that we are the first to beat Dortmund but it is just three points,” Dusseldorf coach Friedhelm Funkel said. “It was impressive how the team played.”
In Moenchengladbach, Nuremberg’s Alexander Fuchs hit the bar while on the other end Thorgan Hazard kicked a penalty over on the stroke of half-time.
The Belgian made amends two minutes after the restart when he tapped the opener off Ibrahima Trare’s low cross. Alessane Plea wrapped up matters with four minutes left, like Hazard now on nine season goals.
“I guess everyone expected a victory. We didn’t allow a lot of chances. We wanted the win badly and now we can have a short breather,” Gladbach coach Dieter Hecking said.
Gladbach are the only team to have won all season home games while Nuremberg are winless in 10 games and second last.
Stuttgart captain Christian Gentner played in Wolfsburg despite the death of his father Saturday but it was to no avail as the hosts got their fourth win in five unbeaten games from Josuha Guilavogui’s diving header and Wout Weghorst.
In Berlin, Hertha reversed an early deficit from Martin Hinteregger through Mathew Leckie and Ondrej Duda within two minutes in the 28th and 30th but Augsburg levelled before half-time from Koo Ja Cheol.
The other five games are Wednesday, when Bayern can also move within six points of Dortmund with a win over RB Leipzig to revive their title hopes.