Bundesliga Roundup, Jan. 23
Bayern Munich returned to the top of the Bundesliga on Saturday
after Arjen Robben's late winner gave it a 3-2 win at Werder
Bremen, while Schalke was held to a 2-2 draw by Bochum.
Robben's free kick from the right in the 78th minute sailed in just under the crossbar to secure Bayern's eighth straight victory, just three minutes after Hugo Almeida had equalized for Bremen.
The win gives Louis van Gaal's team 39 points after 19 rounds, although Bayer Leverkusen has 38 points ahead of its game against Hoffenheim on Sunday.
"The goal was nice, but winning was the better present," said Robben, who raced to his Dutch compatriot and coach after his goal.
"We are playing good football. If we are realistic we could have scored 10 goals today but sometimes the ball doesn't go in," Robben added.
Van Gaal also thought the scoreline did not reflect his side's superiority.
"It's unbelievable that we only won 3-2," van Gaal said. "It should have been much more, but we missed too many chances. It's too bad. We played very good, and that is not easy against Werder Bremen."
Schalke also has 38 points after giving up a two-goal lead in the final eight minutes at local rival Bochum.
Vicente Sanchez and Kevin Kuranyi had given Schalke a 2-0 lead in the first half before Vahid Hashemian pulled a goal back in the 82nd and Stanislav Sestak headed home the equalizer two minutes into injury time.
The draw ended a four-game winning streak for Felix Magath's Schalke, which had not given up a goal in its last four games.
"That's what happens with a young team and when you have a team without a lot of experience," Magath said.
In Bremen, Bayern nearly pulled ahead in the third minute but Robben struck the right post.
Aaron Hunt then gave Bremen the lead in the 10th, but Thomas Mueller equalized 15 minutes later. Bayern's relentless pressure was rewarded when Ivica Olic then put the visitors ahead in the 36th.
Franck Ribery made his first appearance since early October when he came on in the 68th, but Bayern could not take advantage of its chances and Almeida fired home the equalizer from 14 yards in the 75th.
Bremen goalkeeper Tim Wiese then misjudged Robben's free kick, which appeared to be meant as a cross but went in off the bottom of the crossbar.
Champions League side Hertha Berlin remained in last place on 10 points after a scoreless draw at home against Borussia Moenchengladbach, with Berlin goalkeeper Jaroslav Drobny saving Juan Arango's penalty in the 42nd minute.
Also Saturday, Mainz beat Hannover 1-0 thanks to an early goal from Andre Schuerrle to spoil the debut of new Hannover coach Mirko Slomka.
Nuremberg, currently languishing just one place off the bottom, ended a five-game scoreless streak with a 1-1 draw against Eintracht Frankfurt.
The Saturday night match saw Borussia Dortmund keep pace with Bayern three points back in fourth place following a 1-0 victory at home over Hamburg.
Nelson Valdez scored in the first half for Dortmund, which collected its sixth straight win and extended its unbeaten streak to nine matches. Hamburg, on 34 points, saw its run of three straight wins snapped.
"We didn't allow very much to a very strong team and everything worked the way we wanted. It was an unbelievable effort," Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp said.
Dortmund defender Mats Hummels said the team is determined to maintain its good form.
"We know we are a team where everything fits together," Hummels said. "We just want to work really hard to keep our streak going."