Berlin, Dec 4: Bayern Munich reclaimed the Bundesliga lead with a 4-1 win over Werder Bremen on Saturday, while Borussia Dortmund was held to 1-1 at Borussia Moenchengladbach.
“Everything is questioned at Bayern after two defeats in a row, so this win is even more important,” Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes said.
Franck Ribery opened the scoring in the 22nd minute, but substitute Markus Rosenberg equalized in the 52nd. Thomas Mueller then earned Bayern's first penalty, which was converted by substitute Arjen Robben in the 69th.
Ribery sealed the win with his second goal in the 77th, and earned another penalty which Robben converted in the 83rd.
“We weren't in the game at all today,” said Werder coach Thomas Schaaf.
In Moenchengladbach, Robert Lewandowski scored for the defending champions in the 40th, but Mike Hanke deservedly equalized in the 72nd to preserve Moenchengladbach's unbeaten record at home and leave both sides one point behind Bayern.
“The fans saw a thrilling match. The result is fair,” said Hanke.
Elsewhere, Hertha Berlin and Hannover drew 1-1 at Kaiserslautern and Freiburg respectively, while Mainz came from behind to draw 2-2 at Wolfsburg.
Late Saturday, Lukas Podolski scored in the 88th to snatch an unlikely 2-2 draw for Cologne at Stuttgart, after his side had given up an early lead.
Podolski put the visitors ahead from the penalty spot in the 15th, but Christian Gentner equalized with a header from a corner in the 29th before putting Stuttgart in front with a volley in the 36th.
Stuttgart missed a host of chances to put the result beyond doubt, before Podolski slotted his 11th goal of the season under Sven Ulreich from an angle.
Ribery scored from Munich's counterattack after a Bremen free kick, when he ran at the Bremen defense before firing in off the left post after David Alaba found the Frenchman with a crossfield pass.
Rosenberg scored with Werder's second chance, picking up a pass from former Bayern striker Claudio Pizarro and eluding Luiz Gustavo and Holger Badstuber before unleashing a low 16-meter effort to Manuel Neuer's right.
Heynckes brought on the injury-plagued Robben with half an hour remaining. Mueller was fouled by Andreas Wolf in the 69th and Robben duly converted his first goal since September.
Ribery claimed his second when Mario Gomez did all the work to get past Sebastian Mielitz, only for Ribery to nip in and tuck the ball into the empty net.
“I didn't steal the ball from Mario,” Ribery said. “I was simply in a better position and shouted that he should leave the ball.”
Bremen's miserable afternoon continued when Aaron Hunt was sent off in the 80th for a bad challenge on Toni Kroos, and Wolf conceded another penalty when he brought down Ribery two minutes later.
Robben stepped up again to double his Bundesliga tally for the season in one afternoon.
“It's a hard time for me because I still have pains sometimes,” Robben said. “The whole thing is taking very long. Sometimes it's better, then worse again ... I could play without pain today. That's already a joy.”
Moenchengladbach had to do without rising star Marco Reus, who broke his little toe on his left foot in the 3-0 win at Cologne last weekend.
Tony Jantschke prevented Lewandowski scoring in the 16th, when he cleared the ball from the Poland striker who had the goal at his mercy after eluding the goalkeeper.
Lewandowski scored from Mario Goetze's corner when he headed beyond the stranded Marc-Andre ter Stegen, who got a hand to the ball.
Hanke equalized when Raul Bobadilla—who played in Reus' place—sent him through the Dortmund defense to shoot low past Roman Weidenfeller.
“That was a really good football game,” said Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp. “The draw is fair (but) during the game we had the bigger chances.”
First half goals from Mario Mandzukic and Alexander Madlung, which was later ruled an own goal from Jan Kirchhoff, put Wolfsburg ahead against Mainz, but Andreas Ivanschitz pulled one back from a penalty in the 70th, before Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting equalized in the 81st. Wolfsburg midfielder Makoto Hasebe was sent off for a second yellow card in the 87th.
In Kaiserslautern, Hertha defender Roman Hubnik put the home side in front in the sixth minute, when he deflected Christian Tiffert's harmless cross spectacularly into his own net, but Raffael equalized with his fifth goal of the season in the 14th.
“We can live with the point,” said Hertha coach Markus Babbel after his side's seventh draw of the season.
Another own goal gave Hannover the lead in Freiburg, where Felix Bastians turned Mohammed Abdellaoue's dangerous cross into the wrong net in the 44th, before Papiss Demba Cisse equalized with a fine header in the 67th.