BERLIN, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Werder Bremen ground out a 2-0 win at home to 10-man Nuremberg on Saturday to move level on points with Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich, at least for a night.
Nuremberg, playing their first league game under new coach Thomas von Heesen, made life awkward for the title challengers early on but their hopes of an upset were hit in the 20th minute when Ivan Saenko needlessly received a second yellow card.
Werder duly took the lead after a nice finish from Markus Rosenberg 10 minutes later and with nine minutes to go Ivan Klasnic headed in the second to seal the win.
The result saw Werder move up on to Bayern's shoulder with 40 points from 20 games. Bayern will re-establish their three-point lead if they win away to Hanover 96 on Sunday.
At the other end of the table, the Angela Merkel effect failed to materialise for Energie Cottbus, with the strugglers going down 2-0 at home to Borussia Dortmund as the German Chancellor, their newest honorary member, looked on.
Cottbus, who welcomed Merkel as member number 2008 before kick-off, fell behind to a Mladen Petric goal in the eighth minute.
Petric, the Croatian striker, grabbed his second six minutes from the end to take his season tally to 11 and move top of the Bundesliga's scoring table.
Cottbus are second from bottom with 16 points, two points ahead of Duisburg after they went down 3-2 at home to champions VfB Stuttgart.
Schalke 04 lost ground in the race for Champions League places with a 2-1 defeat at VfL Wolfsburg on Friday night but Bayer Leverkusen were not able to take full advantage.
Simon Rolfes and Stefan Kiessling gave them a 2-0 lead away to Karlsruhe with well struck goals but Sebastian Freis and Josh Kennedy responded to earn the home side a deserved point.
A draw was enough to see Leverkusen up to third place on 35 points, ahead of Schalke on goal difference.
Hamburg SV, in fifth on 34 points, will leapfrog both of them if they win at home to Bochum on Sunday.