Jannik Vestergaard then scored against his former side with a powerful header from a corner to make it 2-0 around the half-hour mark. The Danish defender kept his celebration in check. Thomas Delaney missed Bremen's best chance before the break when he blazed over from close range, and there were whistles from some home fans at the interval.
Bremen coach Alexander Nouri made two changes for the second half, when his side appeared more committed, but solid defending from the visitors denied a way back. 'Gladbach climbed to fifth after eight rounds, while Bremen remained second from bottom as the pressure builds on Nouri.
NO WINNERS Wolfsburg twice came from behind to draw 2-2 at Bayer Leverkusen, a result that helps neither team after disappointing starts to the league. Leverkusen took the lead through Lars Bender after the home side dominated the opening half hour.
The goal sparked a reaction from the visitors and Divock Origi duly equalized before the break. Argentine striker Lucas Alario restored Leverkusen's lead with a cool finish to Wendell's cross after Kevin Volland played the Brazilian defender through.
But Leverkusen was to rue missing other chances when Jakub Blaszczykowski grabbed another equalizer for Wolfsburg. It was Wolfsburg's fourth straight draw since Martin Schmidt took over as coach. Both sides remained in the bottom half of the table.
LEAD CUT Bayern Munich cut Borussia Dortmund's lead to two points on Saturday with a 5-0 rout of Freiburg before Dortmund lost 3-2 at home to Leipzig. It was Bayern's first win in three games across all competitions and it coincided with Jupp Heynckes' first game back at the helm. The 72-year-old had been coaxed back out of retirement to take over from the fired Carlo Ancelotti.
Dortmund's defeat was its first of the season, and it ended its club-record 41-game unbeaten run at home in the league. Also Saturday, Hertha Berlin nodded to social struggles in the United States when its starting lineup linked arms and took a knee on the field, while coaching staff, club officials and substitutes took a knee off it before playing Schalke.
The action was intended to show solidarity with NFL players who have been protesting police treatment of blacks and social injustice in the U.S. by kneeling, sitting or locking arms through the anthem before games.