Peru striker Jose Guerrero netted both goals to seal Hamburg's 2-1 win at Schalke, which keeps Martin Jol's side in the heart of the title race and just a point behind leaders Hertha Berlin. The three points in Gelsenkirchen leave Hamburg fourth in the league, but level on 48 points with Bayern Munich and Wolfsburg with the three clubs all just a point behind Hertha, who were humbled 2-0 in Stuttgart on 21 March.
"I am proud of my team," said Hamburg coach Jol. "Schalke had nine days to prepare for this game. For us, it was the 11th game in 33 days. I would not have expected this result - that was a one-off."
The game was heading for a goalless draw until Schalke goalkeeper Manuel Neuer went to head away a dangerous ball in the area, but only managed to nod his clearance into Guerrero's path who fired the gift home on 70 minutes. And the Peruvian striker made it 2-0 just five minutes later when Germany midfielder Marcell Jansen fired at goal to give Guerrero a simple tap in at the far post. Schalke's Jefferson Farfan scored a consolation goal with ten minutes left, but the defeat leaves Schalke eighth and just one point separates the top four sides in the Bundesliga.
"Both teams had the chance of taking the lead, then Guerrero's goals came from nowhere," said Schalke coach Fred Rutten, after the Royal Blues announced last week ex-Germany captain Oliver Kahn will be their new manager. "He played a great game. You could see from the beginning the self-confidence was missing. At Schalke there always seems to be something happening which, of course, influences the team."
On 21 March, defending champions Bayern Munich beat Karlsruhe 1-0 without injured strikers Luca Toni and Miroslav Klose to close the gap behind Hertha. Bayern welcomed back Franck Ribery, who had been suffering with a shin injury, and the French midfield maestro made his mark in the 34th minute when he split the Karlsruhe defence to set up Argentina striker Jose Ernesto Sosa.
Bayern had Brazilian midfielder Ze Roberto to thank for the three points in the dying seconds as he deflected an effort from Karlsruhe's Michael Mutzel over the bar. Karlsruhe stay bottom while the win keeps Bayern second, but just one point behind Hertha, who were brought crashing down to earth after hosts Stuttgart scored two goals in four minutes to continue their rise up the table to sixth. Brazilian striker Cacau scored just two minutes after the break to put the hosts ahead before a header from Germany Under-21 midfielder Sami Khedira doubled the lead on 51 minutes.
Wolfsburg are joint second with Bayern and just a point behind Hertha after they won 3-0 at Arminia Bielefeld. Brazil striker Grafite netted in the 58th minute to become the league's joint top-scorer with 18 goals in 16 games to go level with Hoffenheim's injured striker Vedad Ibisevic. Hoffenheim dropped further back in the title race, as their 2-2 draw at Hannover left them five points off the leaders in fifth and they are now four points off the title race. Bayer Leverkusen are seventh after their 1-1 draw with Eintracht Frankfurt.
Although they hammered Stuttgart 4-0 the week before, Werder Bremen continue their erratic season as Borussia Dortmund captain Alexander Frei slotted home a 61st minute penalty to take the three points and ninth place, with Bremen tenth in the table. Cologne remain in mid-table after their 2-0 win at second-from-bottom Energie Cottbus, while Borussia Moenchengladbach remain in the bottom three as they lost 1-0 on 20 March at home to fellow strugglers Bochum.