Bayern Munich warmed up for Tuesday's UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg at home to Real Madrid with a 5-2 come-from-behind win against Werder Bremen in the German Bundesliga.
Just three days before they try to overturn a 1-0 first-leg deficit against the Spanish giants, Bayern fell behind twice against Bremen at the Allianz Arena before scoring four second-half goals without reply. The flattering scoreline failed to mask Bayern's woeful first-half defending, which must sound the alarm bells for coach Pep Guardiola given the danger of conceding an away goal to Real.
Bayern have conceded the first goal in seven of their nine matches since winning the Bundesliga title late last month with a record seven matches to spare. Once again the Munich defence was left wanting in the first 45 minutes before the reigning European champions roared back.
"That is the first time that I have been a bit disappointed and sad about the first half -- the fans didn't deserve that," Guardiola said. "We were better in the second half, that's good for the mood ahead of the Madrid match, but it will be a completely different game. I trust my team and I hope that we can all manage it together."
Bayern blasted Werder 7-0 in Bremen last December, but they got off to a bad start in the return when Congo midfielder Cedrick Makiadi found Czech defender Theodor Gebre Selassie unmarked and he fired the visitors into a 1-0 lead after ten minutes. Bayern were behind for just ten minutes as veteran striker Claudio Pizarro put in a superb pass which Franck Ribery darted onto and slammed past Bremen goalkeeper Raphael Wolf.
Only a clearance off the line from Bremen captain Clemens Fritz denied Pizarro Bayern's second after a deft chip with half an hour played. But Bremen grabbed their second when Argentinian striker Franco di Santo found midfielder Aaron Hunt unmarked and the former German international slammed home his shot on 36 minutes past despairing Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
It could have been 3-1 at the break as Bremen defender Santiago Garcia hit the back of the net from a corner, but the effort was ruled out for offside.
Impressive fight back
Bayern equalised again when Thomas Muller headed on Ribery's corner and Pizarro was on hand to stab home his shot to make it 2-2 on 54 minutes.
And they took the lead for the first time three minutes later when Ribery combined with left-back David Alaba and the Austrian international squared for Pizarro to fire home his second. Germany midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger then powered home a bullet header from a Philipp Lahm cross to make it 4-2 on 61 minutes before Netherlands winger Arjen Robben hit the top corner to make it 5-2 on 74 minutes, less than 60 seconds after coming off the bench.
Second-placed Borussia Dortmund held hosts Bayer Leverkusen to a 2-2 draw later with all four goals coming in the first 45 minutes. Leverkusen held onto their Champions League berth to stay fourth with the point.
Goals by Lars Bender and Gonzalo Castro for the hosts were cancelled out by a header from Dortmund's Oliver Kirch and a Marco Reus penalty following a clear handball from Bayer defender Roberto Hilbert.
Wolfsburg's own hopes of Champions League qualification were dealt a blow when they were held to a 2-2 draw at home by Freiburg.
Eintracht Braunschweig remain rooted to the bottom of the table after their 2-0 defeat at Hertha Berlin with US international John Anthony Brooks and Tunisia striker Sami Allagui scoring the capital club's second-half goals.
Striker Shinji Okazaki became the highest-scoring Japanese player in a single Bundesliga season when he scored his 14th goal to break Shinji Kagawa's previous record in Mainz's 2-0 win at home to Nuremberg. Okazaki headed his side's opening goal to break Kagawa's two-year-old mark.
Kagawa, now with Manchester United, scored 13 goals in his final season for Borussia Dortmund in the 2011/12 season before moving to Old Trafford.