Both defending champions Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04 had to dig deep for Bundesliga wins on Saturday as they returned to domestic action still in the glow of their midweek UEFA Champions League triumphs. After Borussia shocked Real Madrid 2-1 in Dortmund on Wednesday, the same night Schalke enjoyed a 2-0 win at Arsenal, the pair both needed second-half goals to win their respective Bundesliga games.
With German league leaders Bayern Munich hosting Bayer Leverkusen tomorrow at the Allianz Arena, Dortmund earned three points at Freiburg with heavy snow falling thoughout the game in southern Germany.
Centre-back Neven Subotic got the breakthrough the defending champions needed with a 54th-minute header before Germany midfielder Mario Gozte slotted home the second on 83 minutes to keep Dortmund fourth.
Schalke also had to labour for their three points at Gelsenkirchen's Veltins Arena as Peru striker Jefferson Farfan hit the 77th-minute winner to put Schalke second. Eintracht Frankfurt can regain second spot if they win at Stuttgart tomorrow.
VfL Wolfsburg, who parted company with coach Felix Magath on Thursday, picked up only their second win of the season with a 4-1 victory at ten-man Fortuna Duesseldorf to escape bottom place and move up to 16th in the league.
Ironically, two of the players who Magath had recruited over the summer, Dutch striker Bas Dost, who finished with a brace, and Croatia's Ivica Olic, both scored in the rout. Diego netted a 78th-minute penalty after Duesseldorf had midfielder Oliver Fink shown a straight red card for fouling the Brazilina in the area with only the goalkeeper to beat.
Defender Jens Langeneke had pulled a goal back for Fortuna midway through the second-half by netting a penalty, but Wolfsburg's caretaker coach Lorenz-Guenther Koestner enjoyed a winning start at the helm.
Mainz are up to fifth in the league after Hungary striker Adam Szalai scored a hat-trick. Having opened his account in the 21st minute, he doubled his team's tally with a second on 46 and wrapped up his hat-trick with a 64th-minute header.
Gruether Fuerth drop to last in the table after their 1-1 draw at home to Werder Bremen with the match in Franconia also played in heavy snow.