Almeida double dents Hamburg's hopes
© AFP

Striker Hugo Almeida helped Werder Bremen maintain their stranglehold over Hamburg as a 2-0 win seriously dented their rivals' title aspirations. The defeat leaves Martin Jol's Hamburg outside the European places at sixth in the league, five points behind leaders Wolfsburg with only three games left before the season finishes on 23 May. This was the fourth meeting between the two teams in 19 days and with Bremen having taken the spoils in both the German Cup and UEFA Cup meetings, Werder also took three more points off Hamburg at the Weserstadion.

The Hamburg defence was caught out for both goals as Almeida rifled home having been left unmarked on 34 minutes and then took advantage of a cross from Mesut Oezil to seal the win on 49 minutes. Having won 3-2 at Hamburg in the UEFA Cup semi-final on 7 May to book their place in the Istanbul final on 20 May, the three league points leave Bremen tenth. But the club will have to do without the services of defender Per Mertesacker for the rest of the season after the Germany centre-back picked up an ankle injury in Thursday's win.

Elsewhere, Borussia Moenchengladbach pulled themselves out of the bottom three and into 15th with a 1-0 win at home to Schalke.

On 9 May, Germany striker Mario Gomez scored all four goals in Stuttgart's 4-1 win over league leaders Wolfsburg to blow open the title race. With Bayern Munich, Hertha Berlin and Stuttgart all picking up three points, there are now just two points separating the top four sides in the league with only three games left.

Defending champions Bayern Munich drew level with Wolfsburg on 60 points and are only second on goal difference after their 3-1 win at Energie Cottbus. French midfielder Franck Ribery, who was linked with a move to Manchester United last week, was left on the bench, but Bayern sealed the win with goals from striker Jose Ernesto Sosa, defender Martin Demichelis and forward Lukas Podolski.

Hertha Berlin's 2-0 win at home to strugglers Bochum put them just a point away from the leaders in third. Dortmund sealed their seventh consecutive win in a 4-0 victory over Karlsruhe continuing their late bid for the title as they move into fifth and could now claim a European place for next season.

Hoffenheim ended their 12-game winless streak with a 2-0 victory over Cologne as Eintracht Frankfurt and Hanover drew 1-1. Arminia Bielefeld gave themselves a good chance of surviving relegation with a 2-2 draw at Bayer Leverkusen on 8 May.