Werder Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf was happy with his side's 1-1 draw at Schalke 04 on Saturday despite the result giving Bayern Munich the chance to open an eight-point gap at the top of the table.
Bundesliga leaders Bayern were expected to pick up three more points against mid-table Borussia Dortmund yesterday, with stars Luca Toni and Franck Ribery back from injury, and if Hamburg fail to win at Duisberg, the four-time European champions will have an eight-point lead at the top.
Werder's draw left closed the gap to five points.
"It was an intense game and both sides worked hard to try and get the winning goal," said Schaaf, whose side are second in the table and have lost just once in their last eight games. "Both teams must be content with the result, but for us it was important we kept up our momentum."
An early free-kick by Carlos Grossmueller at Schalke's Veltins-Arena was canceled out by a header from Bremen's Brazilian Naldo in an electric game with either side squandering numerous chances to steal the three points.
"Both sides could easily have won the game and there were so many opportunities in the second half," said Schalke coach Mirko Slomka, whose side are fifth.
"I was a bit angry that we sat back once we went 1-0 ahead and became very defensive. It was a great game for the fans, but it wasn't a great result for us. Bremen are now three points ahead of us and that is something we wanted to avoid, but they deserved their point," he said.
The two sides had contrasting fortunes in their midweek Champions League clashes with the Royal Blues of Schalke losing out 2-0 to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, while Bremen were impressive in their 2-1 home win over Lazio.
But Schalke got off to a dream start when midfielder Grossmueller curled in a direct free-kick on 14 minutes.
Bremen came straight back into the game when Dusko Tosic's free-kick was crossed in and headed home by Naldo on 34 minutes.
Defending champions VfB Stuttgart managed to pick up some badly needed points when they beat midtable Bayer Leverkusen with a 1-0 win at the Gottlieb-Daimler-Stadion.
Defender Andreas Beck scored in the 72nd minute as Stuttgart picked up their first Bundesliga points of the month as the win takes them up to 12th and breaks their run of five defeats.
"It is obvious we have some big problems after our defeats," Stuttgart coach Armin Veh said. "I wanted my players to show some fighting spirit and that is what they did. Now and again, you need a bit of luck, but sometimes you have to work for it and make your own."
Hertha Berlin enjoyed a 2-0 win over VfL Bochum when defender Marcel Maltritz turned the ball into his own net in the first half before striker Marko Pantelic added the second on 35 minutes.
Wolfsburg are up to seventh in the table after their 3-1 home win over the German Cup holders, Nuremberg.
The visitors were 2-0 down at half-time after their Greek striker Angelos Charisteas turned the ball into his own net before Wolfsburg's Brazilian striker Grafite made it two on 34 minutes.
But Nuremberg, whose 5-1 hammering of Eintracht Frankfurt last weekend was their first win in 10 games, struck back when midfielder Zvjezdan Misimovic converted a penalty just after the half-time break.
Wolfsburg midfielder Ashkan Dejagah sealed the 3-1 win with a superb strike on 67 minutes as the home side dominated.
Bottom side Energie Cottbus drew 1-1 with Arminia Bielefeld thanks to an injury-time equalizer and Hansa Rostock drew 0-0 with fourth-placed Karlsruhe.
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