Bayern Munich maintained their seven-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga with a 2-0 win at home to third-placed Eintracht Frankfurt.
After their 6-1 rout of Lille on Wednesday in the UEFA Champions League, Bayern laboured in the face of a dogged Eintracht defence with the visitors having won six of their 11 league games on their return to Germany's top flight.
Bayern took the lead just before half-time when defensive midfielder Javi Martinez of Spain set up France's Franck Ribery to fire home on 44 minutes. They doubled their lead when Austria midfielder David Alaba converted a 77th-minute penalty, after a foul on Germany midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, to ensure three points at the Allianz Arena.
"It was a hard-fought victory, it is not always easy to flip the switch from Champions League back to Bundesliga and we weren't as determined as usual," said Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes. "When things don't run smoothly, you have to play smart and intelligent football, which is what we did."
Schalke see off Bremen
Second-placed Schalke stayed in touch with Bayern after coming from behind to beat Werder Bremen 2-1 in Gelsenkirchen in the wake of their 2-2 draw with Arsenal on Tuesday in the Champions League.
Werder's Aaron Hunt scored his third goal in two games on 16 minutes to put the guests ahead at the Veltins Arena. But Schalke midfielder Roman Neustadter celebrated his first call-up to the Germany team on Friday with the equaliser on 59 minutes as he rose highest to a corner and headed home.
The 24-year-old has been included by Germany coach Joachim Low for Wednesday's friendly with the Netherlands in Amsterdam. His Germany team-mate Julian Draxler then scored Schalke's second after finishing off a superb counter-attack started by the Royal Blues' goalkeeper Lars Unnerstall on 69 minutes.
Dortmund on the rise
Defending champions Borussia Dortmund moved up to fourth with a 3-1 win at bottom side Augsburg. Having only been denied victory by a late goal at Real Madrid on Tuesday in the 2-2 Champions League draw in Spain, Dortmund returned to domestic business with a convincing display.
After Germany midfielder Marco Reus fired home a superb free-kick after eight minutes, Poland striker Robert Lewandowski showed his class with goals on 51 and 70 minutes before Sascha Molders scored a late header for Augsburg.
"That was hard work in the first half, it was a very, very tight match, with a wonderful goal for us, then our goalkeeper reacted well to deny Augsburg," said Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp. "Things were clearly better in the second half, we scored two nice goals and controlled the game."
Dortmund are now hard on the heels of third-placed Eintracht and just a point behind, but Bayer Leverkusen can jump from fifth to third if they win at Wolfsburg on Sunday.
Hamburg were held to a goalless draw by Freiburg while ten-man Hoffenheim drew 1-1 at Fortuna Dusseldorf after defender Marvin Compper was sent off after a second yellow card.
Also on Sunday, Stuttgart host Hannover and Greuther Furth are home to Borussia Monchengladbach.