Berlin: RB Leipzig and Bayern Munich earned contrasting wins ahead of Wednesday's showdown, Mainz's Danny Latza enjoyed a fairytale comeback and Borussia Moenchengladbach fans want Andre Schubert out.
Here are five things we learned from the 15th round of matches in the Bundesliga:
Leipzig impress, Bayern wobble
Having had their record 13-match unbeaten run ended by a shock 1-0 defeat at Ingolstadt, RB Leipzig responded by flooring Hertha Berlin with a 2-0 win to top the Bundesliga for 24 hours before Bayern's shaky 1-0 victory at Darmstadt on Sunday.
Carlo Ancelotti's Bayern host second-placed RB Leipzig on Wednesday with both teams on 36 points, but Munich are top on goal difference.
Goals by Leipzig's Timo Werner and stand-in captain Willi Orban either side of half-time saw RB dominate fourth-placed Hertha.
"I expected a reaction from my team and they didn't disappoint," said Leipzig's coach Ralph Hasenhuettl.
In contrast, Bayern then needed a dream goal from Douglas Costa, hit from 30 metres, to see off bottom side Darmstadt and reclaim top.
"We are relieved, they were three important points, it would have been hard to have played Leipzig without them," said Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
"But the way we played -- that wasn't FC Bayern."
Borussia Moenchengladbach fans made their feelings clear about coach Andre Schubert following Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Augsburg, who picked up their first win in five games.
Under the 45-year-old's stewardship, Gladbach have won just four of their 17 games since the end of September.
There were loud whistles from travelling fans after their latest away loss -- their sixth in seven league games on the road.
"I can understand the fans -- we're also pissed off," said director of sport Max Eberl.
Since selling Granit Xhaka to Arsenal, Gladbach are missing a strong midfield leader and another defeat on Tuesday at home to Wolfsburg could be Schubert's final game in charge.
Latza's 'fairytale' hat-trick
"It's a football fairytale", said Mainz's manager Rouven Schroeder after midfielder Danny Latza scored a hat-trick on his return from seven months out with an adductor injury in a 3-1 win over Hamburg.
It was the first time the 27-year-old had scored in his 33 Bundesliga games.
"It's an undescribable feeling, especially after the long frustrations with injury," said Latza, who needed just over half an hour to wrap up his treble thanks to weak Hamburg defending.
Latza's goals shocked even Hamburg striker Michael Gregoritsch, a former team-mate when the pair played for Bochum.
"I don't know Danny like that, shooting goals was never his thing," said the Austrian international.
Rangnick's rude health
"Hey Ralf, we're eagerly waiting for your next burnout" read a tasteless banner written by Hertha Berlin's fans in Saturday's 2-0 away defeat, directed at RB Leipzig's sports director Ralf Rangnick.
The 58-year-old resigned as Schalke coach in September 2011, citing exhaustion as his main reason.
The banner was below-the-belt, but Rangnick rose above the cheap shot.
"In all honesty, I took it as a back-handed compliment," he told SID, an AFP subsidiary.
"I can imagine there are hardcore Hertha fans who don't want me in this position any more, but I can't give them too much hope because I take very good care of myself."
But his opposite number at Hertha was furious.
"Hertha Berlin distances itself from this disgusting banner!," wrote Berlin's club manager Michael Preetz on Twitter.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has taken a clear lead over Robert Lewandowski in the race to be the Bundesliga's top scorer this season.
Gabon's 'Auba' netted the equaliser for 10-man Borussia Dortmund in Friday's 2-2 draw at Hoffenheim to leave him with 16 goals this season, five more than Bayern's Lewandowski.
The Poland hot-shot drew a blank in Sunday's 1-0 win at Darmstadt, where he was harried every time he got the ball, having netted two goals in both of his previous two league games.
Lewandowski, last season's top scorer in Germany with 30, currently has 11 goals and is third in the goal-scoring charts, one behind Cologne's Anthony Modeste.
Updated Date: Dec 19, 2016 18:46:47 IST