BERLIN, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Werder Bremen held Bayern Munich to a 1-1 draw in a breathless match at the Allianz Arena on Sunday to stay within striking distance of the Bundesliga leaders.
Bayern had the chance to go six points clear by winning the battle of the top two but they had still not settled when Diego put Werder ahead in the sixth minute.
Luca Toni had a penalty saved as Bayern responded and the home side grabbed a deserved equaliser through Ze Roberto in the 32nd minute.
That left Bayern top with 40 points from 19 games, followed by Werder on 37.
Schalke 04 climbed up to third on 35 points thanks to a 3-2 win away to Borussia Dortmund in the big Ruhr derby, with Fabian Ernst getting the winner eight minutes from time.
Bayer Leverkusen are fourth on 34 points, ahead of Hamburg SV on goal difference. The two sides shared a 1-1 draw on Saturday.
Werder had gone out of the Cup and lost at home to Bochum in the league in their first two matches in 2008 and they seemed determined to atone for those twin defeats as they attacked Bayern from the start on Sunday.
They went ahead when Markus Rosenberg cut out Lucio with a neat pass that set up Diego to beat Oliver Kahn from five metres.
That set the tone for a frantic first half, with Bayern throwing everything forward and Werder regularly looking dangerous on the break.
Toni won a penalty when he went down under the challenge of goalkeeper Tim Wiese in the 29th minute but the Italian striker then saw his weak effort saved.
Wiese could do nothing three minutes later when Ze Roberto exchanged passes with Hamit Altintop and shot from eight metres out.
"It was an aggressive match and neither side gave anything away," Bayern coach Ottmar Hitzfeld told reporters.
"They were very sharp early on and it cost us a lot to get the goal back. I just can't be happy because we didn't get that six-point cushion."
Schalke were the weekend's big winners, after they took advantage of the sending-off of Dede in the 76th minute to sneak a satisfying late winner in Dortmund, where a defeat in the penultimate game of last season effectively cost them the title.