Borussia Dortmund completed their spectacular implosion this season, losing 2-1 at struggling Werder Bremen on Saturday, their 10th defeat in 17 league games sending them into the winter break in 17th place, just a point off the bottom.
Talented teenager Davie Selke scored Werder's first goal in the third minute and last season's Bundesliga runners-up never recovered, their leaking defence and lack of attacking ideas proving costly.
Werder hit them on the break with Selke charging down the right wing past two Dortmund players to deliver a cross for Fin Bartels on the hour.
Mats Hummels's diving header in the 69th gave the visitors hope and Shinji Kagawa should have done better when he fired over the bar from 11 metres as Dortmund pressed for an equaliser.
The result left Dortmund, champions in 2011 and 2012, on 15 points, two behind VfB Stuttgart and Werder, who are in the relegation playoff spot. Freiburg, last on 14, could send Dortmund bottom if they beat Hanover on Sunday.
"Any criticism that will be unloaded on us now is completely justified," Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp, who led them to the 2013 Champions League final, told reporters.
"It was a reflection of our season so far. We did not do it well in the first half. The good news today is that the year is over," he said.
Fellow Champions League club Bayer Leverkusen climbed to third place thanks to an 83rd-minute equaliser from Germany international Karim Bellarabi which rescued a 1-1 draw against Eintracht Frankfurt.
Borussia Moenchengladbach dropped to fourth, a point behind, after losing 2-1 against in-form Augsburg, who joined them on 27 points.
Leaders Bayern Munich ended the year with a 2-1 victory at Mainz 05 on Friday thanks to a 90th-minute Arjen Robben goal to open up a 14-point gap on second-placed VfL Wolfsburg who play Cologne later on Saturday.