Hamburg enjoyed a 2-0 win over Arminia Bielefeld to go third and knock Bayern Munich down into fourth, following their defeat at new leaders Hertha Berlin. With the win, Hamburg climb up from fourth to third behind Hertha and second-placed Hoffenheim.
Hamburg, without banned top striker Mladen Petric and injured key defender Bastian Reinhardt, had striker Ivica Olic back in the squad after his suspension. With the league's best home record this season - eight wins and one draw before today - Hamburg looked for a quick goal from the start, but Bielefeld had the best early chance when Jonas Kamper fired just over the crossbar in the 25th minute. Soon after, Germany winger Piotr Trochowski's 32nd-minute free-kick was completely misjudged by Bielefeld keeper Dennis Eilhoff who palmed the ball into his own goal for the opener.
Bielefeld wasted a golden chance to make up for Eilhoff's blunder after the break when Hamburg keeper Frank Rost saved Poland striker Artur Wichniarek's weak penalty. Unmarked Peruvian forward Jose Guerrero then sealed the win for Hamburg in the 60th with a well-struck left-foot effort into the top left corner for his second goal in as many weeks
"Of course, we want to become German champions," said Hamburg defender Michael Gravgaard. "There are still plenty of games to go and we have to pick up as many points as possible."
"If you want to have any chance against such top teams, everything must work and today it didn't work for us," Bielefeld coach Michael Frontzeck said. "We made far too many mistakes and did not use our chances to equalise."
"We were dominant throughout the game, but were lucky with our first goal and the saved penalty," said Hamburg coach Martin Jol. "I am happy to be in touch within striking distance of the top of the table and not having squandered any more points." With just four points separating the top five, this is the closest the title race has been since 1995.
Ten-man Borussia Dortmund were held to a 1-1 draw by relegation-threatened Energie Cottbus and had South Korean Lee Young-Pyo sent off in the last few moments when he kicked an opponent. Energie Cottbus had taken the lead through Cagdas Atan in the 31st minute. Swiss international Alexander Frei quickly levelled for the hosts with a well-struck penalty five minutes later.
Hoffenhiem slip below Hertha
Hertha's Ukrainian striker Andrey Voronin fired his side to the top of the Bundesliga yesterday with two goals to seal a 2-1 win over Bayern Munich. With Hoffenheim suffering their first defeat at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena when Bayer Leverkusen defeated them 4-1 on Friday, the way had been paved for the winner of the Bayern-Hertha clash at Berlin's Olympic Stadium to take over.
Germany midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger scored an 88th minute goal to seal a 3-3 draw for Stuttgart at Hanover as his side dropped to seventh. Wolfsburg are up to sixth after their 2-0 win at Eintracht Frankfurt, while Werder Bremen's dreadful run continued as they drew 1-1 with bottom side Borussia Moenchengladbach. Mid-table Cologne and Karlsruhe ground out a 0-0 draw, while Schalke striker Kevin Kuranyi scored for the Royal Blues in their 2-1 defeat at Bochum which leaves them ninth.