The ex-Olympic 5,000m and 10,000m champion crossed the finish line in an unofficial time of two hours 03min 04sec - just short of world record of 2:02:57 set here in 2014.
The ex-Olympic 5,000m and 10,000m champion crossed the finish line in an unofficial time of two hours 03min 04sec -- just short of Dennis Kimetto's world record of 2:02:57 set here in 2014.
Bekele's time was an Ethiopian national record and he took two minutes off his personal best.
"It was a fantastic time for me to get a personal best, but still I am disappointed to have missed the world record," admitted Bekele, who finished third at this year's London marathon.
Kipsang, who won the 2013 Berlin Marathon in a then-world record time, finished just nine seconds back and Kenya's Evans Chebet took third in 2:05:31.
"I am happy to have run a personal best and he (Bekele) ran a fantastic race," said Kipsang, who ran ten seconds faster than the 2:03:23 then-world record he ran here three years ago.
"I am also a bit disappointed to have missed the world record, but I have to congratulate him.
"We will have to come back and try again for the world record next year."
Bekele ran the second fastest time ever, just seven seconds away from Kimetto's record, and Kipsang's time was the fourth fastest.
The men's world record has fallen seven times in Berlin, six times since 2003.
This was another fast race over 42km, the relatively flat course lacking the cobblestones of London and the bridges of the New York courses.
Kipsang reached the 35km mark in 1:41:56 - exactly on the world record pace - with Bekele trailing just behind him, but the Ethiopian caught the Kenyan with three kilometres to go.
Bekele made his move in the dying stages of the race, pulling clear of Kipsang as the pair headed towards the finish just past Berlin's iconic Brandenburg Gate.