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September 21, 2017

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Bayern rally and beat Bremen 5-2, observe minute's silence for Vilanova

FRANKFURT -- Bayern Munich warmed up for its Champions League semifinal against Real Madrid with a 5-2 win over Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga on Saturday.

Bayern trailed twice but scored three goals in a seven-minute span in the second half to put the match away. Franck Ribery scored and played a role in two other goals as his form finally improved ahead of Tuesday's match against Madrid, which holds a 1-0 lead from the home leg.

Claudio Pizarro scored twice for Bayern against his former club.

"We conceded two counter goals and we can't let it happen on Tuesday," Pizarro said. "Perhaps it's better not to score so many if we give away fewer."

Bottom clubs Nuremberg and Eintracht Braunschweig both lost, which means they can avoid relegation only by reaching the playoff spot at the expense of Hamburger SV, which plays on Sunday in Augsburg. There are two rounds left. Hamburg has a match in hand and could escape from the playoff spot.

Nuremberg lost 2-0 in Mainz and Braunschweig went down 2-0 at Hertha Berlin.

Wolfsburg had its hopes of qualifying for the Champions League dampened with a 2-2 draw against Freiburg at home. Hoffenheim and Eintracht Frankfurt drew 0-0.

In the late match, Bayer Leverkusen drew 2-2 at home with Borussia Dortmund and failed to consolidate a place in Champions League qualifying. Leverkusen is only one point ahead of Wolfsburg. Dortmund remained second and is sure to play in the Champions League next season.

Bayern's players wore black armbands and a minute of silence was observed before kickoff in honor of former Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova, who died on Friday. Bayern also put a statement of condolences, in German and Catalan, on its website. Before becoming head coach, Vilanova was the assistant of Pep Guardiola, who is now the Bayern coach.

"We experienced a lot together. We lost together and won together. This is a very difficult situation," Guardiola said. "The sadness will accompany me forever."

Guardiola said he was disappointed with his players for the first time this season after their performance in the first half.

"The fans don't deserve to see such a first half. In the second, it was better," he said. "But the win is good for our mood."

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