BERLIN: Bayern Munich reined in Bundesliga leaders Wolfsburg on Tuesday with a 2-0 victory, courtesy of a double strike from Peruvian striker Claudio Pizarro in his first match in a month.
Bayern drew level with VfB Stuttgart on 20 points, just one behind Wolfsburg, but remained third on goal difference.
Pizarro showed he has lost none of his poaching instincts with both goals coming from close range, the first from a pass by Bastian Schweinsteiger in the 24th minute and the second on the stroke of halftime off an Owen Hargreaves free kick.
Bayern coach Felix Magath, who is missing several players through injury, including playmaker Michael Ballack, was full of praise for Pizarro in only his third match for Bayern this season.
Without him, there's no one who can hold the ball and draw defenders. We play much better with him, Magath said.
Wolfsburg coach Erik Gerets recognised his side had been a clear second best.
Hanover 96 climbed to fourth with a 3-1 home win over Kaiserslautern, a defeat that left the visitors rooted to the bottom of the table.
Kaiserslautern chairman Rene Jaggi said after the match that coach Kurt Jara would remain in place at least until Sunday, despite mounting pressure.
It was Hanover's fifth straight win, but perfectionist coach Ewald Lienen felt his side had fortune in an finely balanced match.
I was pleased with us going forward. What I didn't like was that we had problems in defence, he said.
VfL Bochum and Borussia Dortmund each gained their second victories of the season.
Bochum, following four consecutive defeats, beat Borussia Moenchengladbach 3-0, helped in part by the dismissal of Moenchengladbach's Jeff Strasser just before the hour mark.
Some of the visiting fans stayed at the end, demanding words with coach Holger Fach. Moenchengladbach have lost their last two matches in the absence of striker Oliver Neuville, banned for steering the ball into the net with his hand nine days ago.
Bochum coach Peter Neururer meanwhile recognised his players had been nervous at the start before growing in confidence after the break.
Dortmund won 1-0 at Hertha Berlin thanks to a Jan Koller header and drew level with Hertha on 11 points, just behind them in 11th position on goal difference.
It's a first step, but a very important step ... The team showed real character today, said Dortmund coach Bert van Marwijk. Reuters