Berlin, March 19 (IANS) Werder Bremen shocked runners-up Leipzig with a 3-0 victory on home soil whereas Cologne eased 4-2 past Hertha Berlin in the 25th round of the Bundesliga football championship.
Second-placed Leipzig on Saturday dropped points again after suffering the second loss in a row as Bremen extended their unbeaten run to five games thanks to the goals from Zlatko Junuzovic, Florian Grillitsch and Florian Kainz, reports Xinhua news agency.
The visitors took the reins from the kick-off to ensure the first chance of the match through Timo Werner, who capitalised on a through ball to test Bremen goalkeeper Felix Wiedwald from inside the box with 11 minutes played.
In the opening period, Bremen lacked in penetration while Leipzig came close with another chance as Emil Forsberg pulled wide from the inside left in the 26th minute.
However, Bremen opened the scoring out of the blue as Leipzig were unable to clear the ball from the edge of the box, allowing Junuzovic to drill the ball into the bottom left with 34 minutes into the game.
Leipzig almost equalised the scores before the break but Marcel Sabitzer's effort from the edge of the box got denied by the left post.
After the restart, Leipzig remained in control of the ball but they were unable to overcome Bremen's well-positioned defence.
Meanwhile, the hosts staged a clinical chance conversion as Junuzovic's low free-kick into the box found Grillitsch, who fired past Leipzig goalie Peter Gulacsi to double the lead in the 56th minute.
Leipzig pressed frenetically to reduce the arrears but Bremen caught the visitors flat-footed on a fast break to put the result beyond doubt as Kainz poked home a follow-up shot from close range in the dying minutes of the game.
With the result, Leipzig suffer a setback in the title race as front runners Bayern Munich will have the chance to extend their advantage on Sunday. Bremen's five-game unbeaten run move them on the 13th place.
Cologne returned to winning ways after Anthony Modeste provided a hat-trick to down Hertha Berlin 4-2. Cologne secured a bright start on home soil as Yuya Osako unleashed a hammer from 20 metres to break the deadlock with just six minutes into the encounter.
Anthony Modeste doubled the lead for the hosts 30 minutes later when he volleyed home Osako's cross from 16 metres. Only moments later, things went from bad to worse for Berlin as Modeste wrapped up his brace after beating onrushing goalkeeper Rune Jarstein to make it 3-0.
Hertha Berlin were able to pull one back as Vedad Ibisevic converted a foul play penalty to reduce the arrears to 3-1 with 50 minutes played.
Cologne continued their relentless performance as Modeste marked his 22nd goal of the season to make it 4-1 on the scoreboards.
The visitors kept it bowling and reduced the lead again as Anthony Brooks headed home a corner in the 69th minute. However, Berlin's second goal came too late as Cologne protected their two-goal lead to the end.
Cologne reaped their first win since February to climb onto the 6th place whereas Berlin stay on the 5th position.
Elsewhere, Mario Gomez scored the only goal of the match helping Wolfsburg to beat last-placed Darmstadt 1-0.
Augsburg held Freiburg to a 1-1 draw as Konstantinos Stafylidis cancelled out Florian Niederlechner's opener.
Hoffenheim extended Leverkusen's winless streak to four games, as Sandro Wagner scored the only goal of the match, and Frankfurt shared the spoils with Hamburg following 90 goalless minutes.