BERLIN (Reuters) - Schalke 04 squandered a chance to go second in the Bundesliga when they conceded twice late in the game and lost 2-1 at home to lowly Werder Bremen on Saturday on a nightmare afternoon for the goalkeepers who were at fault for all three goals.
Bayern Munich, chasing a sixth successive title, duly won 2-0 at Mainz 05 with first-half goals from Franck Ribery and James Rodriguez to extend their lead at the top to 18 points. It was their tenth successive win in all competitions.
Mario Gomez scored his first goal since his return to VfB Stuttgart to give them a 1-1 draw at VfL Wolfsburg — the club he left in December.
Bayern have 53 points from 21 games, 18 ahead of second-placed Bayer Leverkusen who were held 0-0 at Freiburg. Borussia Dortmund are third on 34 after their 3-2 win at Cologne on Friday, and ahead of Schalke on goal difference.
Schalke went ahead after 24 minutes when Bremen goalkeeper Jiri Pavlenka allowed a harmless-looking shot from Yevhen Konoplyanka to slip through his hands and into the net.
The game turned dramatically after the hosts had Matija Nastasic sent off for a second bookable offence in the 78th minute.
One minute later, Ludwig Augustinsson curled a weak Bremen free kick over the wall, Schalke goalkeeper Ralf Faehrmann failed to hold the ball and Max Kruse scored amid a goalmouth scramble.
Bremen won the game in stoppage time after Aron Johannsson lifted the ball into the area to Maximilian Eggestein who slipped a shot through Faehrmann’s legs after the keeper got his timing wrong and Zlatko Junuzovic slid home the ball.
Bayern’s win at Mainz was much more straightforward as Ribery drove home from the edge of the area in the 33rd minute before Rodriguez collected a cross on his chest and volleyed home one minute before the break.
Gomez scored on the hour, diverting Dennis Aogo’s drive into the net from close range, to give Stuttgart a point at Wolfsburg in their first game under new coach Tayfun Korkut, appointed last Sunday.
Gomez’s last goal for Stuttgart was in May 2009, Since then, he has played for Bayern Munich, Fiorentina, Besiktas and Wolfsburg and been hampered by injury.
Wolfsburg had to settle for their 12th draw of the season despite going ahead in the 24th minute through Divock Origi who curled a superb finish wide of Ron-Robert Zieler after Stuttgart lost possession in midfield.
Hertha Berlin drew 1-1 at home to Hoffenheim in the other afternoon kickoff.
Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne; Editing by Clare Fallon