Bremen pulled off a dramatic late-match comeback to knock off Berlin. League leaders Munich did the minimum to win against Wolfsburg, and Hamburg kept on Munich's heels with a win against Kaiserslautern.
Hans Sarpei (m) watches Bayern's Lucio and Ali Karimi rush past him
Werder Bremen scored twice in the last five minutes to beat Hertha Berlin 2-1 in what was a thrilling match for second-place in the Bundesliga. The goals came about after Berlin had wasted much of their energy trying to put more distance between themselves and the 2003-04 champions.
Pal Dardai had put the hosts on top in front of 64,629 jubilant fans in the 48th minute after a Marko Pantelic shot hit the left post. Dardai was the man on the spot and hammered the rebound home. Pantelic would later be denied a goal after the referee assistant mistakenly called him offside. Referee Lutz Wagner would later receive the wrath of Berlin supporters and the team staff for not calling a penalty after a foul on Yildiray Bastürk inside the Bremen penalty box in the 60th minute.
Berlin's Marcelinho and Bremen's Christian Schulz fly through the air with the greatest of ease
Berlin sought to put the final nail in the Bremen coffin but instead, sapped of their strength, they would find themselves under intense Bremen pressure. Tim Borowski launched a rocket in the 85th minute that Berlin keeper Christian Fiedler had no chance at stopping. Then, in the 89th minute, Nelson Valdez headed home the winner for Bremen.
"That was really a top-class game. Unfortunately the referee couldn't perform at the same level," team manager Dieter Hoeness remarked after the game.
Munich unscathed at home
The new Allianz Arena remained pure from the perspective of the Bayern Munich goalkeepers after coach Felix Magath's side did what was necessary to secure a 2-0 victory over Wolfsburg. Starting keeper Oliver Kahn was held from the match after injuring his shoulder, so oldie Bernd Dreher was given the nod. He kept the net clean -- no opponent has yet scored at the arena -- against the Wolves who seldom created top-notch opportunities. Roque Santa Cruz and Lucio provided the goals for Bayern.
Gladbach's Ze Antonio -- first goal in the Bundesliga gives his side the win
Borussia Mönchengladbach, who finished last season just above the relegation zone, are making a move towards the top third of the table, beating Mainz 1-0 at home, their third victory in a row. Ze Antonio scored the lone goal in the 32nd minute and Gladbach now rest in sixth place. Coach Horst Köppel was satisfied with the first-half performance but admitted that after a dodgy second-half the victory was "fortunate."
Leverkusen disappoints again
The freefall for Bayer Leverkusen continued with a disappointing 1-1 against lowly Bielefeld. It could just as easily have been a loss for Leverkusen, as the fans at the BayArena began calling for the head of team president Wolfgang Holzhäuser. Club supporters, accustomed to more success, watched their side crash out of the UEFA Cup on Thursday and were then let down as only an 84th minute goal by Andriy Voronin saved the team from a humiliating defeat.
"It is absurd, to have to play in the Bundesliga two days after a UEFA Cup match. Teams that play on Thursday shouldn't have to play again until Sunday," ranted interim trainer Rudi Völler after the match.
Schalke, one of two teams without a loss in the current season, managed to ooze out a 1-0 win against last-place Frankfurt. It was a victory of the hearts for Ralf Rangnick's boys in an extremely mediocre match. Neverthelees, Schalke have won four and drawn four matches thus far.
Cologne dropping down
Nuremberg's Mario Cantaluppi (m) was falling but his side finished on top against Cologne
Nuremberg elevated their status from last-place after a 2-1 victory over harmless Cologne. Stefan Kiessling was the double goalscorer for coach Wolfgang Wolf, who can breathe a sigh of relief after the pressure was mounting on him to start winning. Cologne coach Uwe Rapolder watched an unmotivated team most of the match and warned that like Nuremberg on Saturday, his team may soon "be fighting for survival."
Hanover and Duisburg walked away with one point each after a 1-1 draw. Duisburg can thank their keeper Georg Koch. He stopped a penalty shot in the 85th minute to save the day.
Rafael van der Vaart of SV Hamburg jubilates after his goal against Kaiserslautern
A brace from Raphael van der Vaart helped German title challengers SV Hamburg stay in touch with champions Bayern Munich with a 3-0 win at Kaiserslautern on Sunday. Dutchman van der Vaart's double after 36 and 82 minutes and Bosnian Sergej Barbarez (50) keep Hamburg's unbeaten record after eight games and leaves them just one point behind leaders Bayern Munich. Kaiserslatuern drop one place to 13th after their fifth loss of the season.
Midtable VfB Stuttgart held hosts Borussia Dortmund to a goalless draw on Sunday.