Dortmund delight on Sunday
A review of the weekend's action in the German Bundesliga.
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Borussia Dortmund will end 2012 in third position, 12 points adrift of league leaders Bayern Munich, after defeating Hoffenheim 3-1 at the Rhein-Neckar Arena.
Mario Gotze, Kevin Grosskreutz and Robert Lewandowski provided the goals for the defending champions with Sven Schipplock on target for the hosts, who end the year in their worst league position since joining the top flight in 2008.
They will spend the winter break seven points adrift of safety in the relegation play-off berth with a lot of work to be done in 2013 to salvage their Bundesliga status.
Nils Petersen scored the last Bundesliga goal of 2012 to earn Werder Bremen a 1-1 draw at home to Nurnberg.
The former Bayern Munich striker struck just two minutes from time to salvage a point after Nurnberg had taken a shock lead six minutes earlier through Timo Gebhart.
Nurnberg goalkeeper Raphael Schafer was kept busy throughout the 90 minutes with Bremen more disappointed than Nurnberg to end the year with a draw.
On Saturday, Bayer Leverkusen kept up their pursuit of leaders Bayern by reducing the deficit to nine points with a comfortable 3-0 home win over Hamburg.
Two goals from the league's top scorer Stefan Kiessling and one from Andre Schurrle earned the side coached by Sami Hyypia and Sascha Lewandowski all three points, guaranteeing them second spot going into 2013.
Hamburg, who went on a trip to South America following their 2-0 win over Hoffenheim last weekend, showed more than a few signs of tiredness as they were unable to match their high-flying hosts.
Elsewhere on Saturday, Eintracht Frankfurt ended the year on a high note, toppling Wolfsburg 2-0 at the VW-Arena to move into third place going into the winter break.
A five-minute spell in the first half decided the game in Frankfurt's favour, with Alexander Meier putting them in front before Josue was sent off and Takashi Inui added a second.
With only 10 men, Wolfsburg were unable to find a response as Frankfurt controlled proceedings to move on to 30 points at the halfway stage of their first season back in the top flight following a year in the second division.
Schalke's recent poor form continued as they ended 2012 with a 3-1 defeat at home to Freiburg, extending their winless run to six matches and increasing the pressure on under-fire coach Huub Stevens.
Despite taking the lead through Jefferson Farfan in the 20th minute, the Royal Blues fell to two goals from Jan Rosenthal and an Oliver Schmid effort as Freiburg moved above them in the end-of-year standings.
Rosenthal and Klaas Jan Huntelaar both received red cards before the game ended and defeat sees Schalke drop out of the top six for the first time this season, leaving them with an important DFB-Pokal tie against Mainz in midweek to put the house back in some sort of order before the winter break.
Mainz came from behind to beat Stuttgart 3-1 at the Coface Arena to move above their opponents in the table and break into the top six.
Martin Harnik was credited with Stuttgart's opening goal, although Mainz goalkeeper Heinz Muller helped turn the forward's header into his own net in the 48th minute.
The home side, who had dominated proceedings in the first half and did not deserve to be behind, responded well with a brace from Nicolai Muller before Elkin Soto wrapped up victory with the last kick of the game.
A delightful free-kick from Ken Ilso earned Fortuna Dusseldorf the win over Hannover which takes Norbert Meier's men nine points away from the relegation zone at the midway point of the season.
Dani Schahin gave the hosts the lead before half-time, but Mame Diouf, who wasted several big chances, brought the Reds level in the 69th minute.
The game could then have gone either way before Ilso stepped up to curl in a 25-yard free-kick in the 83rd minute to send the 48,000 fans in the Dusseldorf Arena wild with joy.
There was no winner in the Bavarian derby between Greuther Furth and Augsburg, with both sides ending a tense encounter a man down as the hosts missed their last chance to pick up a home Bundesliga victory in 2012.
Augsburg went in front in the ninth minute through Sascha Molders, but Lasse Sobiech levelled for Mike Buskens' side.
Furth captain Mergim Mavraj was then sent off, with Giovanni Sio following him for an early bath towards the end of a combative relegation battle which leaves both sides still staring the drop in the face.
In Friday night's only game, Borussia Monchengladbach frustrated leaders and hosts Bayern to emerge with a 1-1 draw.
Thorben Marx gave Gladbach the lead from the penalty spot in the 21st minute and they held out until the hour mark when Xherdan Shaqiri levelled.
Bayern went in search of a winner but found goalkeeper Marc Andre ter Stegen in fine form as Gladbach picked up a point.