BERLIN (AP) " As Bayern Munich's traditional rivals continue to drop points, Hertha Berlin has taken the mantle of challenging the leader with its best ever start in the Bundesliga.
Hertha, which was level with Bayern before the defending champion's comfortable 2-0 win over Borussia Moenchengladbach in Saturday's late game, is struggling to keep expectations down after a hard-fought 2-1 victory over previously unbeaten Cologne.
"It's a bit much," Hertha striker Vedad Ibisevic said of being called Bayern's challenger. "We're playing well but it's early. We're not Bayern-chasers, that's other teams."
Hertha leads an unlikely chasing pack comprising Hoffenheim, Cologne, and Leipzig, while the traditional heavyweights are all lagging behind after making false starts.
Dortmund is six points off the pace but needed Christian Pulisic to rescue a 3-3 draw at lowly Ingolstadt. The second-half substitute scored one and set up another to prevent Dortmund slumping to its third defeat of the season.
BAYERN MUNICH 2, BORUSSIA MOENCHENGLADBACH 0
Bayern attacked from the off and duly went ahead when Arturo Vidal powered a header under the bar from Rafinha's cross.
Fifteen minutes later, Douglas Costa celebrated his first start of the season by taking David Alaba's cross on his chest and firing the ball inside the right post. The Brazilian ran over to two fans, posed and took a selfie with them.
"If he always scores, he can take 100 selfies," Bayern defender Mats Hummels said.
It was all Bayern with 'Gladbach offering next to nothing in attack. But for an early shot over on a counterattack from Fabian Johnson, every other effort in the first half came from the home side.
Bayern was able to conserve energy in the second half, when Andre Hahn struck the post for 'Gladbach.
INGOLSTADT 3, BORUSSIA DORTMUND 3
Dortmund's title chances took another blow after dropping points for the fourth time in eight games.
Almog Cohen gave Ingolstadt an early lead after a poorly defended free kick, then Roman Weidenfeller prevented the home side going further ahead when he blocked Lukas Hinterseer's overhead kick. Weidenfeller started for the first time since March as Roman Buerki had a cold.
Another free kick from a similar position on the right allowed Dario Lezcano to head in Ingolstadt's second.
Bad at the back, Dortmund also created little up front in the face of Ingolstadt's well-organized defense.
Thomas Tuchel sent on Pulisic after the break and Mario Goetze shortly afterward. The latter was involved straight away as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang pulled one back with his seventh of the season.
The celebrations lasted less than a minute, however, as Lezcano grabbed his second, minutes before Ingolstadt hit the post.
Pulisic set up Adrian Ramos to get within one in the 69th, and he prodded home the equalizer from close range in the last minute after Orjan Nyland saved Lukasz Piszczek's initial effort.
Ingolstadt was previously bottom after six straight defeats.
HERTHA BERLIN 2, COLOGNE 1
Ibisevic fired Hertha into an early lead after a fine run and cross from Mitchell Weiser.
Anthony Modeste grabbed the equalizer with his league-leading eighth goal in the 65th, converted from close range after great interplay between Jonas Hector, Konstantin Rausch, and Leonardo Bittencourt.
But Niklas Stark grabbed the winner less than 10 minutes later for the high-flying home side.
DARMSTADT 3, WOLFSBURG 1
Valerien Ismael's tenure at Wolfsburg got off to a rocky start when last defender Jeffrey Bruma was sent off for denying a clear goal chance. Anis Ben-Hatira scored from the resulting free kick in the 25th.
Germany striker Mario Gomez equalized on the hour with his first Wolfsburg goal, but Laszlo Kleinheisler restored the home side's advantage eight minutes later, and Sandro Sirigu ensured Wolfsburg's seventh consecutive game without a win.
Ismael's predecessor, Dieter Hecking, was sacked on Monday.
BAYER LEVERKUSEN 0, HOFFENHEIM 3
Leverkusen was dealt a blow when forward Kevin Volland was sent off against his former side in the sixth minute for denying Kerem Demirbay a clear goal chance.
Demirbay fired under the bar to open the scoring, Sandro Wagner made it 2-0 early in the second half, and set up Steven Zuber to score on the hour.
FREIBURG 2, AUGSBURG 1
Second-half goals from Maximilian Philipp and Nils Petersen, both set up by Vincenzo Grifo, gave Freiburg its fourth win of the season.
This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings