Mönchengladbach took the lead, surprisingly, with a penalty against the table-toppers. The Bavarians equalized in the second half, but though the hosts pressed, and substituted in striker Mario Gomez, the result in the end was a 1-1 draw.
Leverkusen striker Stefan Kiessling heads into the winter break as the Bundesliga's leading scorer with twelve goals to his credit. The final two came against an overmatched Hamburg, as second-placed Leverkusen raced to a 3-0 win.
Some naughty Wolfsburg fans detonated pyrotechnics during their home match against Frankfurt. The fireworks on the pitch were all generated by the visitors, who scored a pair and forced a red card within the space of five minutes. The result was a clear 2-0 win for Frankfurt.
The battle of the Bundesliga's two worst teams - Greuther Fürth and Augsburg - ended in a 1-1 draw. As if to underscore the parity between the two teams, both had a man sent off. Both end 2012 with only nine points to their names. And both will very likely be playing in division two next season.
Visitors Stuttgart grabbed a somewhat fortunate lead in this one, but then Mainz put their noses to the grindstone, and scored 1, 2, 3. Nicolai Müller popped in a brace, and Elkin Soto, getting mobbed above, salted away the 3-1 victory.
Europa League participants Hanover continue to struggle through an up-and-down season. Against newly promoted Düsseldorf, Hanover succeeded in wiping out an early lead by their hosts. But a late Düsseldorf free kick sent them down to a 2-1 defeat.
Visiting Freiburg were the underdogs in their match against Schalke, but they played as though they were the favorites. The small Southern German club overcame an early Schalke lead thanks to a brace by Jan Rosenthal, middle, and walked away 3-1 winners. The result takes Freiburg up to fifth in the table.
Dortmund will spend the winter in the top three after a deserved 3-1 win over struggling Hoffenheim. Mario Götze, r, put the defending champs on the scoreboard with a ferocious strike in the first half. It was Hoffenheim's sixth defeat in a row. They're third-from-bottom in the standings.
The final league match of 2012 was a nail-biter, with neither Bremen nor Nuremberg being able to score over the first 80 minutes. Nuremberg then got a goal against the run of play, and Bremen equalized three minutes from time with an offside goal. With the draw the Bundesliga entered its winter break, although this week does see German Cup matches.
Round 17 of the Bundesliga in pictures