Bayern Munich returned to winning ways to strengthen their grip on top spot, with Schalke now their closest challengers.
Borussia Dortmund dropped two points on the road while Wolfsburg came unstuck in a five-goal thriller.
Bayern Munich offered the perfect response to last weekend's surprise defeat at Hannover as they brushed aside Nurnberg 4-0 at the Allianz Arena.
Mario Gomez had them in front inside two minutes and Bastian Schweinsteiger doubled their advantage on 19 minutes.
Franck Ribery (39) made it three before half-time and Gomez netted his second of the game on 68 minutes to complete a comfortable afternoon's work for the league leaders.
Schalke moved into second place after seeing off Hoffenheim 3-1.
Legendary Spanish forward Raul broke the deadlock on 28 minutes, setting the hosts on their way to a fourth win in five outings.
Vedad Ibisevic briefly had Hoffenheim level on 63 minutes, but two goals in the space of three minutes from Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (pen 73 & 76) saw Schalke over the line.
Reigning champions Borussia Dortmund slipped to third after being held to a 1-1 draw by Stuttgart.
Serdar Tasci opened the scoring on 22 minutes and Lukasz Piszczek restored parity on the stroke of half-time.
Werder Bremen recovered from falling a goal down away at lowly Mainz to record a 3-1 victory.
Niko Bungert edged the hosts in front ion 23 minutes, but their lead was quickly cancelled out by Claudio Pizarro (29).
Aaron Hunt (46) and Sebastian Prodl (78) found the target in the second half to help Bremen into fourth and stretch Mainz's winless run to nine games.
Borussia Monchengladbach clambered above weekend opponents Hannover on the back of a 2-1 success.
A brace from Marco Reus (21 & 50) either side of a leveller from Emanuel Pogatetz (26) saw Monchengladbach move into fourth spot.
Wolfsburg slipped to their sixth defeat of a disappointing campaign as they went down 3-2 at home to Hertha Berlin.
An entertaining encounter saw Wolfsburg hit back twice after falling behind, with Mario Mandzukic (31) and Marcel Schafer (84) cancelling out Raffael's opener on 27 minutes and a 37th-minute penalty from Levan Kobiashvili.
The hosts thought they had done enough to snatch a share of the spoils, but Pierre-Michel Lasogga struck five minutes from time to seal victory for Hertha.