BERLIN (Reuters) - Patrick Herrmann scored once in either half as Borussia Moenchengladbach eased past Werder Bremen 3-1 on Sunday to open up a four-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga.
Gladbach, playing their best season in more than 40 years, struck twice in three minutes with Ramy Bensebaini heading in from close range in the 20th and Herrmann adding another in the 22nd.
The 28-year-old, who has spent his entire career at Gladbach, slotted in his second goal of the afternoon on the hour after keeper Yann Sommer had saved a Bremen penalty.
The Foals, who also hit the woodwork and have now won seven of their last eight matches, were left with 10 men when Bensebaini was sent off with a second booking in the 87th before Leonardo Bittencourt got a stoppage-time goal for the visitors.
Gladbach earlier had Christoph Kramer and Laszlo Benes taken off injured, the latter with what looked like a serious ankle injury.
“The boys are doing it really well at the moment. They have confidence in themselves and our ideas and they are enjoying themselves, that’s important,” said Gladbach coach Marco Rose.
“Luck is also on our side at the moment but in some way my players deserve it because they have put in the work.”
Gladbach lead the title race on 25 points, with RB Leipzig in second place on 21. Champions Bayern Munich crushed Borussia Dortmund 4-0 on Saturday to move up to third, also on 21.
Freiburg joined them on 21 in fourth place after beating Eintracht Frankfurt 1-0 thanks to their top scorer Nils Petersen, who snatched the winner in the 77th.
In a bad-tempered finale Eintracht captain David Abraham was sent off with a straight red car after pushing Freiburg coach Christian Streich to the ground as he rushed to pick up the ball from the sideline.
Freiburg’s Vicenzo Grifo, who had been taken off in the 57th, was also sent off for charging out off the bench and hitting Abraham in the face after his clash with Streich.
Bayer Leverkusen beat VfL Wolfsburg 2-0 to climb into eighth place on 18 points.
The Wolves, who enjoyed a fine start to the season, are now in freefall, having failed to win any of their last seven matches in all competitions, including the last four in the league.
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Pritha Sarkar and Toby Davis