"Thomas Schaaf has a dream," is an interesting way to start a Werder Bremen piece. The thought of the 50-year-old having a dream or even talking about it openly seems far too fanciful to contemplate. Schaaf deals only in dry-as-sawdust stoicisms and was last seen changing his facial expression from "three out of 10" in the mid-90s.

But the man for whom it is always Movember indeed has a dream, as it turns out. He has a dream, he told the Weser-Kurier, that one day Werder will be able to win matches without doing everything in their power to lose them first. "I want to see a clearcut, totally ordinary win for a change," he said with a sigh on Saturday night. "I'm longing for a bit of boredom."

Fortunately for everyone else, there is little chance of that happening. Schaaf would have to remove himself from office first before Werder could hope to become a normal, predictable top-of-the-table side. The former defender has spent well over a decade expertly lining up sides who attack in numbers and do not defend at all. Long before decent Premier League back fours started dabbling with lines so absurdly high that even Pablo Escobar, a Colombian drug lord, would have said no for fear of an overdose, field marshal "Charge of the Green and White brigade" Schaaf was setting the benchmark for suicidal tendencies.

"Remember, if you feel like hurting yourself or your baby, please call us first," a friendly NHS health visitor once advised this correspondent's wife a few days after giving birth. This makes you wonder if Werder shouldn't have their own designated Samaritan in the dressing room, some pony-tailed, knitted jumper-wearing mental health expert who counters Schaaf's "Just keep taking the plunge, men. It'll be all right" rhetoric with some calm points. Take fewer risks. You don't have to do this. There is another way. Think about tomorrow. Think about the kids.

But they don't. Because they can get away with it. Because they have Claudio Pizarro. He had missed most of the week's training with a "hole in the foot" but on Saturday the 33-year-old was back to bail out his side for the umpteenth time. They were 2-0 down at the break against Köln – Lukas Podolski scored the second after a fine solo and set up Christian Clemens's first with a fine angled pass – and looking hopeless. But the "pizza man", as they call him in Bremen, always rings, on this occasion thrice. His hat-trick helped Werder to another unlikely, well-deserved yet flattering win to stay in contention for the Champions League places, perhaps even more.

Köln's coach, Stale Solbakken, blamed the referee, Michael Weiner, for spoiling it for the visitors. "It was a great game, shame the referee wasn't quite up to it," the Norwegian said. The official sent off Henrique Sereno for a foul on Pizarro – harsh – awarded a penalty – also harsh – and didn't look his best throughout. Solbakken didn't help his own case, however, by substituting three players so early that Köln had to play the last 17 minutes with nine men when Ammar Jemal pulled up lame.

This was Pizarro's game, though. The Peruvian beamed like a little kid after the final whistle, as he struggled to evaluate his own devastating form. He has scored 11 in as many games this season and set up four more. Total tally: 153 in 315 league games, more than any other foreigner. "I think I played better when I was younger but I'm scoring more goals now," he smiled before agreeing that the Bundesliga was seeing "the best ever" Pizarro at the moment.

"He's Werder life insurance," wrote the Frankfurter Rundschau. This overused analogy is perhaps not quite drastic enough. The hustling, bustling striker would be better described as a (surprisingly) mobile resuscitation unit. Even Flatliners' Kiefer Sutherland didn't manage to bring his mates back from the dead with such regularity.

Pizarro is the emergency parachute that allows Werder to continue with kamikaze football, subconsciously at least. In Wall Street terms, he is a moral hazard personified. Werder, "the specialists of spectacle" (Kicker), have gone behind nine times this season but lost on only three occasions. "We have a big heart and run a lot," Pizarro said. "But we can't keep this up forever."

Their sporting director, Klaus Allofs, agrees: "There needs to be bit more coolness from us." Things look like coming to their typically capricious head when the third-placed team meet Gladbach, Bayern, Stuttgart and Schalke over the next few weeks. Schaaf's problem seems to be that the board may just share his dream of a more stable, competent playing style. His contract, dated summer 2012, like Allofs's and Pizarro's, is yet to be extended.

And there is potentially a more pressing matter. Pizarro, who earns €4.2m (£3.6m) a year, may be tempted to move in January if Werder do not offer suitable terms for a new deal. "He's not available in winter," Allofs declared, somewhat hopefully. They certainly cannot dispense with his services, that much is obvious. When he missed most of the first half of last season, Werder were utter pants and finished 2010 in 14th place. In other words, the youngest looking 33-year-old striker in Europe is good for 10 places, all on his own. At least.

Talking points

• Giving up a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes to draw 2-2 at home to struggling Hamburg is classic Leverkusen stuff – on one hand. On the other, their age-old bottling tendencies seemed successfully consigned to the history books during the past couple of seasons, a fact that makes their repeated, complete loss of composure right through a match all the more worrying. In the light of the squad's undoubted individual quality, more and more fingers are pointing at manager Robin Dutt – a novice in those lofty spheres of the Bundesliga table who still seems at a loss to adjust.

"The collective playing idea that the club have developed in recent years has been lost at the precise moment when Bayer seemed capable for the big time, in the eye's of the board," wrote Süddeutsche. "It's not that players didn't understand Dutt's tactics," added Kicker. "They understand what the coach wants but don't understand why he wants it." There's much grumbling about the amount of long balls and Dutt's penchant to think matches through in mostly passive terms.

"We have players who are used to act [and dominate]," said captain Simon Rolfes pointedly, one of the manager's more vocal critics. Dutt better get a move on.

• "I look like Quasimodo," Neven Subotic wrote after posting a frightening mug shot of himself on the net. The 22-year-old had to have three metal plates inserted after suffering a broken eye socket when he moved his head too enthusiastically into Sotirios Kyrgiakos's elbow. It may have been the other way round, but referee Drees waved play on. The champions' performance was much prettier, however. Their 5-1 destruction of Wolfsburg bore elements of last season's dream. Shinji Kagawa and Mario Götze shone, in particular. The return to form seems ideally timed for a series of crunch-time games against Bayern, Arsenal and Schalke.

Felix Magath, however, is already looking forward to another customary dash around Europe's bargain basement when the transfer windows opens. "Some players don't seem to have the right quality and attitude," grumbled the manager. He only bought 12 of them in the summer, so a change in fortunes for Wolves is probably a mere dozen or so new recruits away.

• "Pukki: Schalkes neuer Schnucki", wrote Bild. It's hard to put it better than that. Twenty-one year old Teemu Pukki rescued a point for the Royal Blues with a brace away to Hannover (2-2) and became an instant Schnucki (darling ) with S04 supporters. The Pumuckl-haired Finn played in place of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who was out with a broken nose.

• Mainz 05 finally won at home again to ease the sense of crisis, even if Guido Winkmann awarded them a penalty so soft that it seemed entirely made out of cream cheese. An innocuous collision between Stuttgart defender Maza and FSV striker Nicolai Müller resulted in Andreas Ivanschitz's converted spot-kick, which put them 2-1 up quite against the run of play. Two more players were sent off – one from each side – but the Swabians' coach, Bruno Labbadia, was convinced his side had faced "12 men" from the start on Friday night. "I can understand their anger, 100%," said the Mainz coach, Thomas Tuchel, after the 3-1 win.

• In match one without the injured Bastian Schweinsteiger, Bayern looked like doing a Bayer at bottom club Augsburg. The visitors were 2-0 up courtesy of another Mario Gomez header (his 13th goal of the season) and a fine effort from Franck Ribéry inside 28 minutes but then slowed down to the point of standing still like a beer barrel cart that's lost its two pulling oxen. Augsburg's Hajime Hosogai scored to make last half hour interesting. The league leaders held out, though, thanks to an excellent save from Manuel Neuer, one on one with Edmond Kapllani.

"He's paid back his first million," joked a relieved Uli Hoeness, the Bayern president.

Results: Mainz 3-1 Stuttgart, Dortmund 5-1 Wolfsburg, Hoffenheim 1-1 Kaiserslautern, Hertha 1-2 Gladbach, Bremen 3-2 Köln, Nürnberg 1-2 Freiburg, Leverkusen 2-2 Hamburg, Hannover 2-2 Schalke, Augsburg 1-2 Bayern.

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