Berlin: Werder Bremen`s meteoric rise up the Bundesliga table continued on Sunday as their 2-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen means they have gone from 18th to eighth in just four games.
Leverkusen, who face last year`s beaten finalists Atletico Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League, found themselves 2-0 down with half an hour gone as hosts Bremen produced some dazzling first-half football.
A superb lofted cross from attacking midfielder Fin Bartels allowed 20-year-old striker Davie Selke to put Bremen ahead with 17 minutes gone.
Bremen`s Austrian midfielder Zlatko Junuzovic then drilled home a stunning free kick just inside the near post to double Werder`s lead after 29 minutes.
Bayer pulled a goal back when Hakan Calhanoglu headed home after Gonzalo Castro had hit the post just before half time.
But Leverkusen boss Roger Schmidt lost his cool with tough-tackling Bremen and was banished to the stands by referee Peter Sippel on 65 minutes for using offensive language to the fourth official.
Having been bottom of the table just before their last game of 2014, Bremen have shot up the table to eighth under caretaker coach Viktor Skripnik while Leverkusen stay sixth.
On Saturday, Borussia Dortmund climbed off the bottom with a 3-0 win at Freiburg while leaders Bayern Munich picked up their first win of 2015.
German star Marco Reus gave Dortmund an early lead before Gabon winger Pierre-Emerick Aubemayang added two second-half goalsr.
Dortmund now face mid-table Mainz and strugglers Stuttgart in the league before Italian league leaders Juventus away in the last 16 of the Champions League on February 24.
The result lifted Dortmund to 16th, while Freiburg slip to 17th, still leaving both teams in the drop zone with Borrusia out to avoid their first relegation since 1972.
Bayern continued their march to a third straight title with a 2-0 win at VfB Stuttgart, which saw Huub Stevens` side drop to bottom of the table.
Bayern`s win was their first in three matches having been thrashed 4-1 at Wolfsburg just over a week ago.
Arjen Robben scored his second goal in as many games just before half-time break before David Alaba then drilled home a superb free-kick with 50 minutes gone.
Bayern stay eight points clear of second-placed Wolfsburg, who gave Germany winger Andre Schuerrle his debut after his move from Chelsea in a 3-0 win at home to Hoffenheim.
Belgium midfielder Kevin de Bruyne claimed two goals in an impressive display.
Hertha Berlin bounced back from the sacking of coach Jos Luhukay on Thursday with a slick performance which lifted them out of the bottom three after their 2-0 win at ten-man Mainz 05.
With Hungary national team coach Pal Dardai now at the helm, the visitors took the lead when Jens Hegler converted a 35th-minute penalty on 43 minutes before Roy Beerens slotted their second.
Hamburg continued their march up the table to go 11th after their second consecutive victory with a 2-1 win at home to Hanover 96, who are winless in their last four games.
Paderborn dropped to just above the relegation spots after their goalless draw at Cologne while Schalke 04 went third on Friday with a 1-0 home win against Borussia Moenchengladbach.