Ribery fires Bayern near the summit

French star Franck Ribery scored his fourth goal in four consecutive league games on Sunday to seal a 2-1 win at Schalke 04 to put defending champions Bayern Munich in touch with the league leaders. Despite missing the first five games of the season after damaging ankle ligaments playing for France against Italy during UEFA EURO 2008 in June, Ribery is back to his best and his first-half strike in Gelsenkirchen put Bayern third.

Hoffenheim dropped to second in the table by virtue of their 1-0 defeat at Hertha Berlin on Sunday as Bayer Leverkusen take over as league leaders with a superior goal difference. But with five wins from their last five league games, defending champions Bayern are now on 24 points just one behind Hoffenheim and Bayer.

Last month's slump - which saw them drop to 11th in the table - now looks a thing of the past. Jurgen Klinsmann-coached Bayern took the lead as early as the third minute when Italian World Cup winner Luca Toni, back from a rib injury, combined with Munich captain Mark van Bommel and fired home from close range.

But Schalke replied almost immediately when striker Jefferson Farfan converted a pass from Brazilian Rafinha and slotted his shot past Bayern goalkeeper Michael Rensing. The best goal of the game came from Bayern's midfield play-maker Franck Ribery who linked up with Brazilian midfielder Ze Roberto and scored on 31 minutes after some quick passing to give the guests the three points.

Having won their previous five league games, Hoffenheim were brought back to earth when they were lost 1-0 to Hertha Berlin at the Olympic Stadium. Terrible defending by Hoffenheim gave Hertha's former Liverpool striker Andriy Voronin a simple one-on-one with the Berlin goalkeeper on 70 minutes and he made no mistake to put Hertha fifth.

And Germany striker Mario Gomez scored a late header to seal a 2-2 draw for VfB Stuttgart against Eintracht Frankfurt.

On Saturday, Bayer Leverkusen allowed their 3-0 lead slipped to a 3-3 draw at Karlsruhe as the home side made a spectacular comeback. Bayer missed out on their fifth straight league win while Karlsruhe finally broke a five-game losing streak to share the points.

Leverkusen got off to a flying start as strikers Patrick Helmes and Stefan Kiessling scored goals in the first 17 minutes before a direct free-kick from Michal Kadlec on 24 minutes stunned Karlsruhe to leave the hosts 3-0 down. But midfielder Antonio da Silva and defender Tim Sebastian on 60 minutes put the home team right back in contention before Georgia striker Alexander Iashvili hit the equaliser ten minutes from time to share the points.

Hamburg moved back up to fourth with a 2-1 win at home to Borussia Dortmund and having been hammered 3-0 in the Champions League in midweek by Panathinaikos, Werder Bremen are tenth after they drew 0-0 with strugglers VfL Bochum.

A hat-trick from Brazilian star Grafite including a first-half penalty gave Felix Magath-coached Wolfsburg a 3-0 win at home to bottom side Energie Cottbus which put Wolfsburg up to seventh in the table.

Mid-table Cologne enjoyed a 2-1 win over Hanover on Friday night.