Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund edged past Werder Bremen 2-1 on Saturday to open up a nine-point gap that guarantees they will stay top of the table going into the winter break later this month.
Goals from the league`s leading scorer Paco Alcacer and Marco Reus earned unbeaten Dortmund their sixth league win in a row.
It put them on 39 points from 15 games, nine clear of Borussia Moenchengladbach, who drew 0-0 at Hoffenheim, and champions Bayern Munich, winners 4-0 at Hanover 96, with two matchdays left until the start of the winter break on Dec. 23.
The unofficial autumn `Herbstmeister` title, for the team who lead the Bundesliga at the halfway mark, may mean little now but 38 of the last 55 sides to earn that accolade have gone on to also win the league title.
"We are satisfied but the autumn title doesn`t mean too much," Dortmund coach Lucien Favre told reporters. "We made it a bit hard for ourselves though. We had lots of chances to make it 3-1.
"It was hard for us. At the start we led 2-0. We should not have conceded that goal because that caused some problems. We then had to correct some things."
The hosts struck twice in seven minutes to make their intentions clear. Spaniard Alcacer grabbed his 11th goal of the campaign when he headed in from a free kick in the 20th minute after having earlier hit the post.
Remarkably, it was only the second goal that he has scored as a Dortmund starter, with the other nine coming in his usual substitute role.
Reus then took his own tally to 10 with a well-placed shot from a Jadon Sancho assist, the teenager`s seventh of the season.
A sensational effort from Max Kruse into the top corner of Roman Buerki`s goal in the 35th kept Werder in the game but their recovery was short-lived as Dortmund retook control while failing to convert some golden scoring chances.
Mario Gomez scored twice for VfB Stuttgart to help them come from a goal down and beat Hertha Berlin 2-1.
But the victory was overshadowed by the sudden death of the father of Stuttgart captain Christian Gentner, who passed away in the stadium immediately after the game.