Agony for title-chasing Bayer Leverkusen, Borussia Dortmund
Berlin: Club World Cup finalists Bayern Munich stayed seven points clear at the top of the Bundesliga on Saturday after title rivals Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Dortmund lost their final matches before the winter break.
Leverkusen, in second spot with 37 points from 17 games, went down to a 74th-minute goal on the break from Santiago Garcia as Werder Bremen won in the league for the first time since November.
It was an even worse day for third-placed Borussia Dortmund who slumped to their third straight home defeat as promoted Hertha Berlin came from behind to win 2-1.
Bayern, who meet Raja Casablanca in the Club World Cup final in Morocco later on Saturday, will play their game in hand in January as the Bundesliga takes a five-week break.
Visiting Leverkusen, through to the last 16 in the Champions League, controlled possession against Werder but lacked offensive spark as they slid to their second consecutive defeat.
Werder`s win lifted them to 11th and offered coach Robin Dutt some breathing space after a string of bad results.
Hertha looked to be in for a tough afternoon when 18-year-old keeper Marius Gersbeck, replacing the injured Thomas Kraft, completely misjudged his charge out of goal and allowed Marco Reus to score after seven minutes.
Injury-hit Dortmund were then sent reeling as goals from Adrian Ramos and Sami Allagui, after mistakes from home debutant Marian Sarr and fellow youngster Erik Durm, turned the game for the visitors.
Ramos slotted in an Allagui pass in the 23rd minute to join Dortmund`s Robert Lewandowski on 11 goals at the top of the list of Bundesliga scorers, before the Tunisian added the second goal on the stroke of halftime.
Dortmund remained on 32 points, level with Borussia Moenchengladbach who host VfL Wolfsburg on Sunday.
Swiss Admir Mehmedi struck twice in the first half to help third from bottom Freiburg to a 2-1 win over Hanover 96, their third league victory of the campaign.
Shinji Okazaki grabbed a double for Mainz 05, including a stoppage-time winner, as they triumphed 3-2 at Hamburg SV.
Rafael van der Vaart scored one of the goals for Hamburg who had Tomas Rincon sent off eight minutes from time.
Promoted Eintracht Braunschweig hauled themselves off the bottom with their third win of the season, a 1-0 victory over Hoffenheim.