German Bundesliga Roundup, Dec. 11
Bundesliga leader Borussia Dortmund downed Werder Bremen 2-0 for its ninth straight win on Saturday and took its points tally to a team-record 43.
Bayer Leverkusen moved up to second place - pending Sunday's match between Mainz and Schalke - after beating Hamburg 4-2 away. But Leverkusen was 11 points behind Dortmund.
Nuri Sahin opened the scoring for Dortmund in the 9th minute with a 20-meter (yard) free kick into the top right hand corner which gave Werder goalkeeper Tim Wiese no chance.
"We started very well but then we let Bremen play," coach Juergen Klopp said.
Claudio Pizarro, who was making his return from injury, spurned a great chance to pull one back for Bremen when he was beaten in a race to the ball by goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller. The Peruvian striker then had a penalty appeal turned down when he tussled with the goalkeeper again.
Alarm bells were ringing in the Dortmund defense on 68 minutes when the ball fell to the feet of Petri Pasanen. The defender could not direct a shot on goal from two meters (yards), however, and the ball was scrambled away to safety.
"We were finally in the game in the second half. Our problem today was that we missed the first," Werder coach Thomas Schaaf said.
Robert Lewandowski then scored at the other end to give his side some breathing space with 20 minutes remaining. A shot from Jakub Blaszczykowski fell kindly for midfielder Shinji Kagawa, who volleyed straight away with his left foot. It was heading for goal anyway, but took a slight deflection from Lewandowski.
Earlier, St. Pauli goalkeeper Thomas Kessler was sent off and Philipp Lahm scored the resulting penalty to help Bayern Munich win 3-0.
It was the defending champion's fifth straight home win and lifted Bayern to fifth place, 17 points behind the leader.
Bayern got another boost when Bastian Schweinsteiger announced he will stay with the club until 2016, ending speculation linking him with a lucrative move abroad.
Hamit Altintop opened the scoring for Munich in the 16th minute when he played a one-two with Schweinsteiger before unleashing a powerful shot from 20 meters (yards) to the left of Kessler.
Marius Ebbers spurned a couple of good chances to get an equalizer for St. Pauli, and Kessler prevented Bayern going further ahead with a great save from Toni Kroos late in the first half.
Ebbers had a goalward shot blocked off the line by Diego Contento early in the second half as the visitors continued to battle in front of some 6,500 traveling supporters.
Kessler was sent off for bringing down Thomas Mueller in the penalty area when the Bayern forward was through on goal and Lahm converted from the spot to make it 2-0 in the 72nd. Franck Ribery completed the scoring in the 79th.
Sidney Sam gave Leverkusen the lead when he put the ball to the left of Hamburg goalkeeper Frank Rost from a tight angle in the 28th minute.
Hamburg equalized through an own goal from Arturo Vidal. The Chilean midfielder made amends when he put his side back in front in the 60th with a close-range header after some poor defending from the hosts.
Renato Augusto lobbed the goalkeeper from a tight angle for Leverkusen's third, and compounded Rost's misery with a shot that deflected in off the goalkeeper's legs. Hamburg managed a consolation goal a minute later through Eljero Elia.
Wolfsburg played out a scoreless draw at Kaiserslautern, increasing the pressure on coach Steve McClaren, whose side has gone six matches since its last win.
Relegation-threatened Cologne beat Frankfurt 1-0 through Christian Clemens' first Bundesliga goal. The 19-year-old latched on to a pass from Adam Matuschyk to shoot the ball across the face of goal past goalkeeper Ralf Faehrmann. Cologne climbs to third from bottom ahead of Stuttgart and Borussia Moenchengladbach, which plays Freiburg on Sunday.
Cologne striker Lukas Podolski had been struggling with an ankle injury and he was taken off after 22 minutes.
Elsewhere, Hoffenheim drew 1-1 at home with Nuremberg.