Bayer Leverkusen's 3-0 win over Hamburg has trimmed Bayern Munich's lead at the top of the Bundesliga to nine points heading into the winter break.
After Bayern were held 1-1 at home by Borussia Moenchengladbach on Friday, second-placed Leverkusen enjoyed a comfortable win over HSV, with ex-Germany striker Stefan Kiessling and current German star Andre Schuerrle both on target.
Kiessling opened the scoring on 26 minutes when his close-range shot gave the Hamburg defence no chance, and the hosts doubled their advantage ten minutes later when Schuerrle netted as the ball went in off the post.
Kiessling claimed his 12th goal in 17 games this season to make him the Bundesliga's top scorer when he latched on to a clearance from Bayer goalkeeper Bernd Leno and drilled home his second on 66 minutes. It strengthens his case for a recall to the Germany squad in 2013 having last played in the win over Uruguay in the play-off for third place at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™.
Leverkusen's victory denied Bayern a Bundesliga record, as they had been set to break Borussia Dortmund's ten-point lead at the halfway point of the season, which was set in 2010.
Frankfurt go third, Mainz climb fifth
With defending champions Dortmund at strugglers Hoffenheim on Sunday, Eintracht Frankfurt took the chance to claim third spot with a 2-0 win over ten-man Wolfsburg.
Frankfurt took the lead after only 12 minutes when captain Alexander Meier scored his 11th goal of the season. Wolsburg were reduced to ten men when Brazil midfielder Josue was shown a straight red on 16 minutes for going into a challenge on Canada's Olivier Occean with his studs up. Frankfurt took the chance to double their lead two minutes later when Japan midfielder Takashi Inui converted Stefan Aigner's pass.
Mainz moved up to fifth after coming from behind to beat Stuttgart 3-1, with midfielder Nicolai Mueller scoring their second-half goals before Colombia midfielder Elkin Soto grabbed the third in the 92nd minute.
Late joy for Dusseldorf, Fuerth stay bottom
Dusseldorf's Denmark midfielder Ken Ilso drilled home an 83rd minute free-kick to seal Fortuna's 2-1 win over Hanover.
Greuther Fuerth remain rooted to the bottom of the table after they drew 1-1 at Bavarian neighbours Augsburg, in a high-tension affair as both sides finished with ten men. Fuerth had Albania defender Mergim Mavraj sent off for a second yellow card on 76 minutes, while French striker Giovanni Sio was dismissed on 85 minutes, four minutes after coming off the bench, for a dangerous tackle.