Two months to go and the title race could not be more open if it was a Mercedes Benz convertible with a faulty roof mechanism – the race for the title of "most chaotic, disorganised club of the season", that is. The lead is changing almost by the minute. Seven days ago, Bayern Munich looked to be unassailable at the top after firing their manager Louis van Gaal before reinstating him instantly. This remarkable 360-degree turnaround was praised by Oliver Kahn ("a very clever decision") but universally panned as a ridiculous compromise. Those in charge at Säbenerstrasse, the club headquarters, had no idea what the effect would be. "We were very curious to see how this one would play out," admitted Karl-Heinz Rummenigge candidly on Saturday.

Depending on your view, this innovative measure worked out brilliantly or was shown up for its stupidity. After a characteristically iffy start in the Allianz Arena when the visitors, Hamburg, seemed only one decent attacking move away from cutting Van Gaal's stay in Bavaria short for good, Bayern galloped to a 6-0 win. Arjen Robben scored a hat-trick, Franck Ribéry and Thomas Müller chipped in with one each and the HSV defender Heiko Westermann blundered Bayern's sixth into his own net five minutes from time.

The emphatic result, it should be noted, was kindly made possible by a second-half performance from the northerners that frankly defied description – more of which later – but threw up more questions than answers in the managerial sense. Were Bayern this good despite the Dutchman's lame duck status or because of it? Both sides of the argument seemed to have won on Saturday. On the one hand, the game suggested that the board's decision (to fire the coach at the end of the season) had perhaps been a little hasty, that Bayern should have ridden out the storm instead, that the relationship between coach and players was not as bad as reported. "That's how it is in football," Robben said. "One day we're bad and it's all a catastrophe. Now we're a super team again." The pro-Van Gaal view was naturally put forward by Van Gaal, too. "Who would have thought, eh?" the 59-year old beamed in an address to his "friends in the media".

While the captain, Philipp Lahm, opted for a diplomatic line ("of course we played for the manager but also for us and the team"), Ribéry came close to welcoming the board's move and Van Gaal's departure. "I now have more fun on the pitch," said the Frenchman, who agreed with Bild's suggestion that the dismissal had given Bayern wings: "I think so," he said. The 27-year-old was indeed flying past defenders in a manner not seen for a while. Maybe Hugo's had been closed for most of the week.

There could be another interpretation, however, or as the former German captain Georg Wilhelm Friedrich "Nobby" Hegel famously put it, "the mutual contradiction (of both propositions) can be reconciled on a higher level of truth by a third proposition". In this case, it may well be the strong desire of both parties to make the best of an impossible situation. "We want to ensure Van Gaal has a positive farewell," said Bastian Schweinsteiger, a mind-set that Süddeutsche Zeitung compared to two lovers who know that their relationship is destined to end: "Some say the best sex comes after separation is decided upon." And a happy finish does remain a possibility – if Inter can be overcome on Tuesday and Bayern manage to displace Hannover in third, who went down 4-0 at Köln.

Armin Veh, a fellow flightless drake after announcing his intended departure as Hamburg manager at the end of the season last week, sadly did not manage to go out on a high. In the aftermath of the defeat he said he would not resign, but on Sunday afternoon, the club sent him packing. The decision was a surprise, of sorts: Hamburg had been so rudderless in recent days that many people thought there would be no one available to reach that conclusion. The sporting director Bastian Reinhardt, who is only keeping the seat warm for Frank Arnesen, has no power whatsoever. The chairman Bernd Hoffmann was effectively fired by the supervisory board last week and promptly went on a skiing holiday. He did eventually cut his trip short to rubberstamp a move that the increasingly fatalistic and passive Veh must have secretly coveted for months. "It's impossible to coach here," he said before the match, before putting forward a slightly incomprehensible take on things. "If you win, it might be possible to go on. If you don't, maybe as well. But somehow you can't because you will have lost."

The assistant coach Michael Oenning, the man who has been doing most of the training-ground work while Veh was embarking on an inward emigration in recent months, will take over until the end of the season. The 45-year-old is immediately faced with a tough choice: how does he solve a problem called Frank Rost? The 37-year-old goalkeeper let rip after the final whistle and lashed out against Hoffmann in particular. "This club is a swaying giant, many people underestimate the gravity of the situation," he said. "People are putting their own egos first. You can't work here, it's not the manager's fault. The next one might be able to do a job for three days, that's it. You can only lose in this club ... If they think they need to change the players, they should do that. Instead, they cut off your balls here." Mmm, yes.

But just when you thought that Hamburg had overtaken their southern rivals Bayern in the chaos stakes, up come Schalke 04 on the blindside. A few hours before their Champions League game against Valencia, it was leaked that the manager Felix Magath would be relieved of his duties in May. "We have to pull the emergency brake, there are fires burning everywhere", the club chairman Clemens Tönnies was quoted as saying. Magath, another source said, was behaving in a "socially incompetent", almost inhumane manner towards his players and other officials. The glorious 3-1 over the Spaniards, however, put a little doubt into Tönnies's mind. The meat-producing magnate asked the manager to meet him for "a talk among men" on Sunday, a dithering that was criticised by other board members. The talk did not really make any difference, however. Magath was simply told that the supervisory board would convene in an extraordinary session on Wednesday – to fire him.

On Saturday, S04 supporters displayed conflicting loyalties. Some were aligning themselves with the coach in the light of his successful cup runs, some wanted him out. The laboured 2-1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt banished relegation fears, but Magath's results are now immaterial: his management style has become unbearable, concerns about his capricious transfer policy too numerous and grave.

In his last post-match conference, the 57-year-old announced he would only answer questions about the game, "so that you can get used to it". It was one final, brilliant joke: Otto Rehhagel, the destined caretaker manager, used to forever bully reporters by insisting that they only asked "expert questions". Legend has it that one irate hack eventually lost his cool with Rehhagel, a painter before turning pro, and demanded "advice on the kind of emulsion paint" he should use at home. The next couple of months in Gelsenkirchen will be colourful, that much is guaranteed.

In Wolfsburg, the picture is simply bleak. Now that Werder and Stuttgart have started to pull themselves together, Wolfsburg the one heavyweight left in the doldrums. The general manager Dieter Hoeness's decision to appoint Pierre Littbarski as caretaker manager looks a more inspired choice by the minute, as far as the aforementioned title race is concerned. In a league that is in real danger of losing track of all the dismissals, mishaps and upheavals, Wolfsburg could well take it to the next level altogether by going down. They lost 2-1 at home to the excellent Nürnberg, due to a last-minute goal from Per Nilsson. By the time you read these lines, serial "fire fighter" Hans Meyer could be installed for two months to ward off the collapse. Another lame duck or part-time messiah, depending on the outcome.

Talking points

• Frankfurt's first goal of the calendar year has been a long time coming, in more than ways than one – 793 minutes of futile, fruitless football had passed when the left-back Georgios Tzavellas hoofed it up front for Theofanis Gekas deep in his own half. The ball missed everybody, however, including Manuel Neuer in the S04 goal, and bobbled in for the longest-distance goal in the history of the Bundesliga. Tzavellas's unwitting record-strike from 73 metres was not enough for Michael Skibbe's side to rescue a point in the Veltinsarena though. The Greek striker (and Rehhagel protege) Angelos Charisteas scored a late winner for the soon-to-be managerless Royal Blues.

• Dortmund suffered a rare off-day and went down 1-0 away to Hoffenheim (Vedad Ibisevic, 63), who did a decent job in nullifying Nuri Sahin and Sven Bender at the heart of Borussia's midfield. Bender will miss a couple of weeks with a dislocated shoulder, which seemed to hurt Jürgen Klopp more than the (largely irrelevant) defeat. "We were lacking the punch upfront," said the manager.

• Leverkusen closed the gap on the leaders to nine points but needed a lazy mistake from the Mainz defender Bo Svensson to claim all three points. The Swedish Bo didn't know ... that Renato Augusto was lurking behind him and lost the ball to the Brazilian who smashed a shot into the roof of the net. Michael Ballack was back in the starting XI but was largely anonymous. The Leverkusen coach Jupp Heynckes, a contender to succeed Van Gaal at Munich, would not be drawn on his future.

• Wolfsburg's Makoto Hasebe, the captain of the Japanese national team, is organising a relief effort for the Tsunami victims alongside compatriots Tomoaki Makino (Köln), Shinji Okazaki (Stuttgart) and Atsuto Uchida (Schalke). On Friday afternoon, Uchida had tried to phone friends in Kashima, the coastal town of his former club (Kashima Antlers). No one picked up.

Results: Köln 4-0 Hannover, Bayern 6-0 Hamburg, Kaiserslautern 2-1 Freiburg, Wolfsburg 1-2 Nürnberg, Schalke 2-1 Frankfurt, Hoffenheim 1-0 Dortmund, Werder Bremen 1-1 Gladbach, Mainz 1-2 Leverkusen, St Pauli 1-2 Stuttgart.

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