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Sports

No change at top as Bayern, Leverkusen and Dortmund win in spot-kick Saturday

A penalty-packed day in the Bundesliga has ended with little change at the top of the table. Bayern Munich, Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Dortmund all shook off their mid-week Champions League commitments to win.

Of the 19 goals scored in Saturday's earlier games, seven of them were from the spot. Bayern and Leverkusen did not need any of them to defeat Eintracht Braunschweig and Nuremberg respectively, but two Robert Lewandowski penalties saved Dortmund at Mainz and Schalke benefited from one in a 3-0 victory over Stuttgart.

There were even crazier scenes at Hoffenheim, where three spot kicks featured as the hosts were held to a straightjacket-worthy 4-4 draw by Werder Bremen.

In Munich, league leaders Bayern appeared be on track for a routing of bottom-side Braunschweig after an Arjen Robben double had them 2-0 up by the half-hour mark. But having been teased and tormented by their hosts throughout the first half, Braunschweig emerged a different outfit after the break. Bayern could not add to their first-half score, while the visiting minnows carved out a handful of chances of their own.

Dortmund, meanwhile, had frustrations of their own at Mainz as they struggled to recreate the heroics of their win over Napoli on Tuesday. Lukasz Piszczek started a league match for the first time since May, but his presence could not inspire Jürgen Klopp's side and they had to wait until the 70th minute for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to open the scoring with his dipping free-kick.

Maxim Choupo-Moting temporarily leveled things up for Mainz from the spot on 74 minutes, before Lewandowski restored the lead soon after as Elkin Soto was red carded for handling a goal-bound shot. Lewandowski - with another penalty - made it a 3-1 scoreline with the last kick of the game, but Dortmund's struggles continue a largely frustrating month that now has them seven points behind Bayern in the title race.

Bayer Leverkusen had rather less trouble strolling past Nuremberg, bouncing back from their 5-0 thumping at the hands of Manchester United in the Champions League on Wednesday through a stylish brace from Heung-Min Son and Stefan Kiessling's ninth goal of the season. Leverkusen remain in second, three points behind Bayern and three ahead of Dortmund.

Goal-den day in Hoffenheim

If Dortmund's win at Mainz took its time to spring to life, Hoffenheim's hosting of Werder Bremen declined to waste a minute in a remarkable 4-4 draw.

Hoffenheim found themselves with a 2-0 lead after just 18 minutes thanks to two Senad Halilhovic penalties, before Aaron Hunt pulled one back for Bremen with his own converted spot kick.

A minute later, Bremen were 2-2. Hunt's tame-looking pull back from the right-hand byline somehow squirmed under Hoffenheim goalkeeper Koen Casteels, allowing Eljero Elia the easiest of tap-ins. What banished Hoffenheim goalkeeper Tim Wiese, looking on from the stands, must have been thinking was perhaps rather predictable.

Philipp Bargfrede (R) of Bremen celebrates his team's fourth goal during the Bundesliga match between 1899 Hoffenheim and Werder Bremen on November 30, 2013 in Sinsheim, Germany. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Bongarts/Getty Images)

An eight-goal thriller between Hoffenheim and Werder Bremen was finally completed by Philipp Bargfrede's first-ever Bundesliga goal.

The scoring was far from finished, with Salihovic turning provider for Kevin Volland four minutes into the second half and a Kai Herdling effort making it 4-2 for Hoffenheim by the 53rd minute.

Half-time substitute Nils Petersen pulled one back for Bremen just before the hour mark, before another sub, Philipp Bargfrede, picked the perfect time to score his first Bundesliga game on 90 minutes to make it 4-4.

Elsewhere, Hertha Berlin and Augsburg played out at 0-0 draw that did little to improve their positions in mid-table.

Blue heaven for Schalke

In the later game, Schalke comfortable saw off Stuttgart to move to within a point of fourth-placed Borussia Mönchengladbach.

The hosts were far too classy for Stuttgart in Gelsinkirchen, with Jefferson Farfan (two goals), Julien Draxler and Kevin Prince-Boateng far too creative for Schalke's opponents.

An unlikely - and spectacular - goal from Jermaine Jones rounded out the 3-0 win, ensuring Schalke now have 10 points from their past four league matches.

Gladbach will have the chance to steal four points ahead when they play Freiburg on Sunday, but Schalke did all they could to keep the pressure on the Foals.