Berlin: Champions Bayern Munich crushed Werder Bremen 6-0 in the Bundesliga on Saturday to protect their four-point lead at the top as last season`s runners-up Borussia Dortmund continued their poor run with a 2-1 loss at Cologne.
Fellow Champions League participants Bayer Leverkusen spectacularly imploded, giving up a 3-0 halftime lead to draw 3-3 against troubled VfB Stuttgart.
With winger Franck Ribery making his comeback as a substitute on the hour, league leaders Bayern were in complete control with Philipp Lahm and Xabi Alonso giving them an early two-goal cushion.
With Werder unable to counter the Bavarian attacks, a 43rd-minute penalty from Thomas Mueller and Mario Goetze`s shot two minutes later killed off the game before halftime.
Lahm and Goetze got their second goals of the afternoon in the second half to lift Bayern to 20 points, four ahead of second-placed Borussia Moenchengladbach, who eased past Hanover 96 3-0 with two goals from forward Max Kruse.
It was a different story for Borussia Dortmund, who despite having Ilkay Guendogan back after more than 17 months out with a back injury, lost 2-1 at Cologne for their fifth defeat in eight league matches.
Dortmund keeper Roman Weidenfeller gifted their opponents the winner with a failed clearance in the 74th minute that allowed Simon Zoller to score, after the visitors had equalised through Ciro Immobile early in the second half.
Dortmund, who travel to Galatasaray in the Champions League next week, drop to 14th on seven points after their third consecutive defeat. They are now just three points above bottom club Bremen.
Leverkusen looked set for an easy afternoon after two goals from South Korea`s Son Heung-min and another one from Germany international Karim Bellarabi gave them a comfortable lead.
Yet they inexplicably lost focus after the break with Timo Werner, Florian Klein and Martin Harnik scoring at 10-minute intervals for the hosts with Leverkusen`s defence in tatters.
VfL Wolfsburg kept up their good form to climb to fourth on 14 points with a 2-1 win at Freiburg.