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Bayern back on top after winning crunch Schalke clash

France playmaker Franck Ribery celebrates after scoring Bayern Munich's opening goal at Schalke.
France playmaker Franck Ribery celebrates after scoring Bayern Munich's opening goal at Schalke.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Bayern Munich return to top of German Bundesliga with 2-1 victory at title rivals Schalke
  • Bavarians beat previous leaders despite having Hamit Altintop sent off late in first half
  • Third-placed Bayer Leverkusen six points behind Bayern after losing at Eintracht Frankfurt
  • Borussia Dortmund close on Leverkusen with a 2-1 victory at home to Werder Bremen
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(CNN) -- Bayern Munich capped a successful week by returning to the top of the German Bundesliga with a 2-1 victory away to title rivals Schalke on Saturday despite having a man sent off in the first half.

Louis Van Gaal's team followed up the midweek Champions League victory over Manchester United with a win that puts them a point clear of previous leaders Schalke ahead of Wednesday's trip to England for the second leg of the quarterfinal.

Bayern took a 2-0 lead after only 26 minutes as Franck Ribery and Thomas Muller scored within 60 seconds of each other, but Schalke's former Germany striker Kevin Kuranyi reduced the deficit soon after.

The Bavarians had Hamit Altintop sent off for a second booking four minutes before halftime, but Schalke -- beaten by Bayern in the German Cup semifinals 10 days ago -- could not claim a point and had Marcelo Bordon dismissed at the end of the match.

Bayern were again without Dutch forward Arjen Robben, who missed the United game with a calf problem, but surged into a two-goal lead when French playmaker Ribery fired home from a corner and Tuesday's match-winner Ivica Olic set up Muller.

Kuranyi followed up his double from last weekend with another strike from a pass by Rafinha, who was fouled by Altintop to see the Turkey international an early bath.

Kuranyi should have leveled just before the break but missed from close range, and Schalke failed to seriously threaten the Bayern goal in the second spell.

Third-placed Bayer Leverkusen suffered another blow to their title hopes with a 3-2 defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt which left the former leaders six points adrift of Bayern after a run of just one win in seven league outings.

Frankfurt, who upset Bayern two weeks ago, moved up to eighth with a third successive win thanks to Maik Franz's 89th-minute winner.

Leverkusen led 2-1 straight after halftime through Stefan Kiessling's second goal, but had Daniel Schwaab sent off three minutes later for a rash tackle on Umit Korkmaz.

Caio leveled on 62 with a super long-range effort, and Franz snatched victory from close range.

Borussia Dortmund consolidated fourth place with a 2-1 victory at home to Werder Bremen, scoring both goals in the first half through Kevin Grosskreutz and Neven Subotic before Aaron Hunt pulled one back in the 65th minute.

Dortmund closed to with a point of Leverkusen, who hold the final Champions League place, and went four clear of fifth-placed Bremen.

Stuttgart moved up to seventh with a 2-1 victory at home to Borussia Moenchengladbach, while Nuremberg moved three points clear of the relegation zone with a 2-0 win at home to 10-man Mainz.

Bochum joined Nuremberg on 28 points with a 1-1 draw at third-bottom Freiburg, while bottom side Hertha Berlin earned a surprise 3-0 win at Cologne in Saturday's late match thanks to two first-half goals from Raffael and a 75th-minute effort from fellow Brazilian Cicero.