Aaron Hunt scored a hat-trick as Werder Bremen capitalised on a slip by VfB Stuttgart to move second in the Bundesliga, just three points behind leaders FC Schalke 04.
Bremen have conceded a lot of ground in the championship race in recent weeks, a return of one point from five fixtures seeing them drop to third. Schalke's surprise defeat by Hamburger SV last night meant a win would see Thomas Schaaf's team half the deficit to the leaders, however, and led by Hunt they took full advantage. The German Under-21 international broke the deadlock midway through the first half before two goals in the space of four second-half minutes sealed the points and his first hat-trick in top-flight football.
Bayern hold on
Bremen move second, a point behind Stuttgart who were overwhelmed away to in-form Bayer 04 Leverkusen. Andriy Vorinin (20), Paul Freier (22) and Juan (61) had put the home side three goals to the good before Cacau grabbed a 73rd-minute consolation. It will do little to ease the threat of the ever-dangerous FC Bayern München after the champions closed to within two points of them with a 3-2 victory at Hertha BSC Berlin. Hasan Salihamidžić, Lukas Podolski and Roy Makaay were all on target for the visitors but after Christian Giménez had earlier reduced the deficit, Dick van Burik ensured a tense finale when he scored eight minutes from time.
There was more late drama at DSC Arminia Bielefeld, where Jörg Böhme scored three minutes from time to seal a 3-2 victory against 1. FC Nürnberg after Marco Engelhardt's 83rd-minute strike looked to have earned the visitors a share of the spoils. There were no such dramatics at Eintracht Frankfurt, where second-half efforts from Naohiro Takahara and Michael Thurk secured a 2-0 win against Hannover 96. Goals were very much the order of the day in Germany but not in the match between VfL Wolfsburg and VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach where Cedric Makiadi's second-half goal earned the home team the points.
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