BERLIN, Oct 28 (Reuters) - Bayer Leverkusen struck twice in the last 20 minutes to beat struggling Werder Bremen 2-0 on Tuesday and move back on top of the Bundesliga, at least for 24 hours.
Leverkusen always looked the likelier team to break the deadlock at the Weserstadion and they managed it when Arturo Vidal pounced on a weak punch from the keeper. Defender Manuel Friedrich then scored another scrappy goal to make certain.
With 10 games played, Leverkusen lead the standings with 21 points. Hoffenheim drop to second on 19 but will regain first place if they win away to Bochum on Wednesday.
Schalke 04 climbed to third with 17 points when they enjoyed a leisurely 3-0 win away to Karlsruhe.
Bayern Munich, who are seventh on 15 points, visit Eintracht Frankfurt on Wednesday.
Werder, runners-up to Bayern, last season, have now gone four league games without a win and lie in 10th place with 13 points from 10 games.
They lacked spark in attack once again on Tuesday, with Brazilian playmaker Diego and Peruvian striker Claudio Pizarro both missing through injury.
They were at least defending comfortably enough, however, until a mistake from reserve keeper Christian Vander, playing in place of the injured Tim Wiese, tipped the match Leverkusen's way.
Vander opted to punch clear a header in the 71st minute rather than catch it and the ball landed straight at the feet of the grateful Vidal.
Leverkusen's excellent young keeper Rene Adler kept the visitors ahead when he saved a screaming shot from Markus Rosenberg before Friedrich tapped in the second.
"We're not imposing our own game and we're making the same mistakes every time," Werder coach Thomas Schaaf told reporters. "We just have to stay calm."