BERLIN – Champions Bayern Munich find themselves in the unusual position of being seventh in the Bundesliga after their 2-1 defeat at Borussia Moenchengladbach.
After a second successive loss, Bayern are out of the European qualifying places, seven points adrift of leaders Gladbach and with no clear position on a long-term coaching solution.
After starting with four wins following the departure of Niko Kovac, Hansi Flick as caretaker coach had been given a vote of confidence by the management at least until the winter break and possibly until the end of the season.
Flick has now seen his side lose twice in games against Bayer Leverkusen and Moenchengladbach which on chances created they should perhaps have won.
Ivan Perisic put Bayern ahead after half-time in Saturday's big game, but Gladbach's Ramy Bensebaini levelled the scores on the hour and converted a penalty in the closing stages.
Bayern can also look at last season when they were nine points behind Borussia Dortmund at one stage and six points adrift at the winter break before going on to win their seventh successive Bundesliga title.
However defender Joshua Kimmich said it could be more difficult this season to make up ground.
"I would say we are playing better football than a year ago in winter," he said.
"Is the situation comparable? This season there are more teams ahead of us than last season. Even though we are only – in quotes – seven points behind it will be much harder this season."
Gladbach now have 31 points from 14 games, one ahead of RB Leipzig, who defeated Hoffenheim 3-1 for a fifth straight league win, and five up on Borussia Dortmund, who thrashed Fortuna Dusseldorf 5-0.
It was a 10th victory in the league for Gladbach and the sixth in a row in front of home fans, who are now dreaming of a first title since 1977.
"This result shows that we're on the right track and that we can concentrate on our own game for 90 minutes," coach Marco Rose said.
"In future though, we'll have to be as brave as we were in the second half of this game right from the off. We have to bring back a little consistency."
Gladbach now turn their attention to the Europa League on Thursday where a win or draw at home to Istanbul Basaksehir will ensure progress, before a trip to Wolfsburg in the league on Sunday.
Leipzig, with Germany striker Timo Werner scoring for a fifth consecutive league game, visit Lyon in the Champions League, where they have a last 16 place already certain, and then travel to Dusseldorf in the league.