A good dose of luck helped Munich keep their lead atop the Bundesliga Saturday. The defending champions scored a 2-1 win over Arminia Bielefeld in extra time, while second place Werder Bremen tore apart Wolfsburg.
Even after thrashing Wolfsburg, Bremen couldn't gain any ground on Bayern
Schalke 04 slipped behind in the title race with a 2-2 draw in Cologne, and Hertha BSC Berlin also weren't able to claim any points in a 0-2 loss to Borussia Dortmund.
At the German top flight's bottom end, Nuremburg won their second match of the season, with a 3-1 victory over Kaiserslautern, leaving the "Red Devils" to prop up all the other 17 Bundesliga teams.
Ballack missing from Bayern side
Peruvian international Claudio Pizarro saved Bayern Munich's blushes by scoring twice in the final eight minutes to make sure Bayern maintained their five-point cushion at the Bundesliga summit.
Ballack did his yelling from the bench on Saturday
Sorely missing German national team captain, Michael Ballack (photo), whose contract saga dominated the headlines throughout the week but was sidelined with a thigh injury, reigning champions Bayern looked set to be heading for only their second defeat of the season.
Bielefeld's Ghanaian international Isaac Boakye rolled the ball past Bayern keeper Oliver Kahn from close range on the hour mark, but Pizarro leveled in the 82nd minute and then scored the winner with the last kick of the match after a mistake in the Bielefeld defense.
"Bielefeld were better than us," Bayern coach Felix Magath admitted. "They ruled the game and I really didn't believe we could turn it around after their opening goal."
Schalke fall behind
Bremen remain in second after beathing Wolfsburg
It was a vital win for Bayern with Werder Bremen crushing VfL Wolfsburg 6-1 at home to stay five points behind the pacesetters. Werder striker and German international Miroslav Klose scored twice in the second half to take his season's tally to 14 and extend his lead at the top of the goal scoring charts.
"This kind of victory gives our self-confidence a boost," said Bremen trainer Thomas Schaaf, whose team will be looking for any edge it can get before their European match Wednesday against Barcelona. "The team shot some very pretty goals."
With Bremen and Bayern both winning, last season's runners-up Schalke 04 needed to keep pace but could only manage a 2-2 draw at FC Cologne and fall 12 points behind Bayern.
Kuranyi's early goal wasn't enough to keep Schalke ahead of Cologne
Despite a strong start and first half goal from Kevin Kuranyi, Schalke fell behind in the second 45 minutes until Ebbe Sand poked in the equalizer in the 86th minute.
"We obviously failed to decide the game in our favor in the first 45 minutes," said Schalke coach Ralf Rangnick of the many goal opportunities his team missed.
Even though the loss puts Schalke further behind Bayern, Rangnick will be more concerned with the distance between his side and the three lucrative Champions League spots. If third-placed SV Hamburg win at MSV Duisburg on Sunday they will have a six-point cushion over fourth-placed Schalke.
Hertha lose in Dortmund … again
The Westfalen Stadium in Dortmund remained an unconquerable fortress for Hertha Berlin. Ebi Smolarek scored his 10th and 11th goals of the season in Dortmund's well-deserved win. Hertha's last victory in Dortmund was in 1972.
Dortmund tallied another win at home against Berlin
Borussia Mönchengladbach will have to continue waiting for their first home win against Bayer Leverkusen since 1989 after Saturday's 1-1 draw. Leverkusen took the lead in the fifth minute on a Simon Rolfes goal, but Borussia's Eugen Polanski was able to level the score nine minutes later.
The first Bundesliga derby in Bruchweg Stadium saw Mainz 05 and Eintracht Frankfurt split the spoils in a 2-2 draw.
Implausibly, three of the four goals came from Mainz's Nikolce Noveski, who scored two own goals within three minutes of each other then partially made up for the collapse with a goal in the right direction 20 minutes before the final whistle. Petr Ruman tied the score for Mainz in the match's final minute.
"Everything got started in the completely wrong direction," said Mainz coach Jürgen Klopp. "It wasn't until the second half that we were able to right ourselves."
Fourth manager shown to the door
Henke, left, won't be around to console Kaiserslautern players any longer
Kaiserslautern wasted little time in sacking coach Michael Henke after falling to the league basement. Kaiserslautern chairman Rene C. Jaggi also stepped down from his post after Saturday's defeat.
Less than an hour after the defeat to Nuremberg he became the fourth managerial casualty this season following the departures of Klaus Augenthaler (Bayer Leverkusen), Wolfgang Wolf (FC Nuremberg) and Ewald Lienen (Hannover).