Marco Reus and Henrikh Mkhitaryan did the damage as Borussia Dortmund moved to within five points of Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich with a 3-1 win at Werder Bremen.
Champions Bayern dropped points for the first time this season on Friday when they were held to a 0-0 draw by Eintracht Frankfurt, and Dortmund took advantage by registering their third straight league victory.
Reus, aided by a howler from Bremen goalkeeper Felix Wiedwald, opened the scoring after just nine minutes as a confident Dortmund side flew out of the blocks.
To their credit, Bremen responded well to that early setback and drew level in the 31st minute courtesy of Anthony Ujah’s fifth Bundesliga goal of the season.
But Thomas Tuchel’s men would not be denied, as Mkhitaryan nodded them back into the lead shortly before half-time, and Reus sealed the points 18 minutes from the end with a clinical finish after latching onto a slide-rule Mkhitaryan pass.
Free-scoring Dortmund had netted 17 times in their previous four games, and it did not take them long to get off the mark on Saturday.
Wiedwald made a mess of Mkhitaryan’s low cross from the right, the Bremen keeper diverting the ball into the path of the onrushing Reus, who had the simple task of slotting home his 10th goal of the season.
Bremen warmed to their task, but Dortmund looked typically dangerous on the break and Wiedwald made amends for his earlier error with a fine save from Mkhitaryan after a lightning counter involving Reus and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
However, the hosts drew level just after the half-hour mark through the in-form Ujah.
A slick passing move down the Bremen right ended with Matthias Ginter clearing a Florian Grillitsch effort off the line, but Ujah was on hand to convert his fourth goal in his last three appearances.
Bremen were level for just 12 minutes, though, as Mkhitaryan restored the visitors’ lead with a header at the back post from Mats Hummels’ inch-perfect cross.
Aubameyang has been in lethal goalscoring form this season, and the Gabon striker should have extended Dortmund’s advantage five minutes after the restart as he collected Mkhitaryan’s pass and blazed over from eight yards when it seemed easier to score.
But Reus spared his team-mate’s blushes in the 72nd minute.
The outstanding Mkhitaryan slid a perfectly weighted pass into the Germany forward, who fired high beyond the helpless Wiedwald from 15 yards to secure a win that could breathe new life into the Bundesliga title race.