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Germany midfielder Marco Reus netted a hat-trick in Borussia Dortmund's 3-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday, but the champions had a striker sent off for the second time in the space of a week.
Dortmund's win left them second in the league, but 15 points behind leaders Bayern Munich, who show no sign of releasing their grip on the Bundesliga after earning their 18th win in 22 matches with a 2-0 win at VfL Wolfsburg on Friday.
After Dortmund's Poland striker Robert Lewandowski had earned a three-game ban for being sent off against Hamburg last Saturday, his replacement Julian Schieber was dismissed for a second yellow against Frankfurt.
He is also now banned for the next game, leaving Dortmund without a specialist striker in their squad.
Dortmund's appeal against Lewandowski red card will be heard by the German Football Association (DFB) on Tuesday and they hope to have him back for next Sunday's match at Moenchengladbach.
Should the appeal fail, Reus is the obvious choice to be moved up front as he profited from Dortmund's constant pressure on the Frankfurt defence.
"Another red card was hard to take, especially after our trip to Donetsk in the Champions League, but we were outstanding," said Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp, whose team drew 2-2 in Ukraine on Wednesday.
"It was a very strong performance and the goals weren't bad. The boys worked their socks off."
There were two goals, two yellow cards and the subsequent red in a frantic opening 30 minutes.
Reus hit the back of the net on eight minutes after a dream pass from Mario Goetze, while centre-back Mats Hummels produced a similar pass soon after as Reus made it 2-0 in as many minutes.
With Lewandowski suspended, Schieber was clearly eager to take his opportunity, but his over-zealous challenge on Frankfurt's Carlos Zambrano earned him a yellow card on 27 minutes.
He then saw red just four minutes later when his stray elbow on defender Bastian Oczipka earned him a second booking.
Despite the numerical disadvantage, Reus moved up front to complete his hat-trick on 65 minutes when he fired home after Goetze had again caused havoc.
Frankfurt were also reduced to 10 men with 15 minutes left when Japan midfielder Takashi Inui earned a second yellow card.
Schalke's poor Bundesliga form continued on as they twice came from behind for a 2-2 draw at Mainz ahead of Wednesday's Champions League trip to Istanbul's Galatasaray.
Schalke face the Turkish league leaders in the last 16, first-leg clash having dropped from second to eighth in the Bundesliga with just one win in their last 11 games, conceding 25 goals in the process -- the league's worst record.
Brazil midfielder Michel Bastos scored both Schalke's goals, but his team struggled again having been thumped 4-0 by Bayern last weekend.
Bayer Leverkusen are third after their 2-1 win at home to relegation-threatened Augsburg as striker Stefan Kiessling and midfielder Lars Bender both scored.
Dutch midfielder Rafael van der Vaart scored his first goal for Hamburg since May 2008 with a spectacular 24th-minute thunderbolt to secure a 1-0 win over Borussia Moenchengladbach to move his team up to sixth.
Freiburg stay fifth, and amongst the European places, with a 3-2 win at Werder Bremen while Greuther Fuerth stay bottom after their 1-0 defeat to Fortuna Duesseldorf.