Peru striker Claudio Pizarro scored a brace, including a last-gasp winner, as Werder Bremen went joint-second in the Bundesliga on Sunday in a 2-1 home victory over nine-man Hertha Berlin.
The three points moves the northerners into joint second spot with Borussia Moenchengladbach with 16 points from seven games, two shy of leaders Bayern Munich, who beat Bayer Leverkusen 3-0 on Saturday.
Pizarro, who had a successful spell at Bayern but could not settle when he moved to Chelsea, netted on 23 minutes after Colombian Adrian Ramos had put Hertha into a third-minute lead.
And the Peruvian veteran then netted the clincher in stoppage time.
The bad-tempered match featured 12 yellow cards, two of which became red cards for Hertha's Christian Lell in the 57th minute and Ramos, six minutes later.
Also Sunday, Cologne thanked goals from Mato Jajalo and Lukas Podolski for a 2-0 win over Hoffenheim, who stay fourth but who are now four points adrift of the sides just above them.
On Saturday, Bayern Munich strolled past Leverkusen to stay clear after having been temporarily dislodged three hours earlier when Borussia Moenchengladbach clinched a 1-0 win over Nuremburg.
Gladbach have not won the league since 1977 and their most recent honour, in 2008, was the second division trophy.
But Belgian defender Filip Daem's 76th-minute penalty was enough to ensure that the five-time champions enjoyed a few hours top of the heap before Bayern Munich brushed aside Leverkusen.
Bayern's opening goal came on five minutes from Thomas Mueller, with Belgian defender Daniel van Buyten netting the second on 19 minutes to effectively put the match to bed.
Leverkusen had not won in Munich in 22 attempts and without their flu-ridden former Bayern star Michael Ballack they offered little resistance.
Bayern took their foot off the gas in the second half with an eye on their midweek Champions League date with Manchester City.
But Arjen Robben still had time to put his name on the scoreboard in the final minute on his return from injury, the Dutch winger netting from close-range after good work from Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Robben was delighted to make such an immediate impact on his return after mssing a trio of league outings and a Champions League pool win over Villarreal.
"Of course it's great after so many weeks out," said Robben, who replaced Toni Kroos in the closing stages.
Reigning champions Borussia Dortmund, meanwhile, had to scrap as they came from a goal down to win 2-1 at Mainz.
Dortmund have been on the ropes this term, losing three of their opening six matches, but they showed some grit after Nikolai Muller had put Mainz into a 33rd-minute lead.
Ivan Perisic, on target in the Champions League in the draw with Arsenal, bagged the equaliser mid-way through the second half before Lukasz Piszczek clinched victory in the dying seconds, poking home through a forest of legs.
"We've managed to break the trend of working hard and yet getting little to show for it," said Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp after his side's first away success of the season.
Like Dortmund, neighbours Schalke have been bouncing around in mid-table but Spanish veteran forward Raul celebrated being offered an extension to his current deal with a goal in a 4-2 home win over Freiburg.
The victory was a boost after coach Ralf Rangnick quit on Thursday, citing fatigue, to become the second coach this week to part company with a Bundesliga side.
Hamburg sacked coach Michael Oenning on Monday but responded with a 2-1 win over Stuttgart for their first win.