Paolo Guerrero scored twice to see off Cologne and send Hamburg to the top of the table. The Peru striker opened the scoring after 19 minutes and added a second for Bruno Labbadia's men midway through the second half. Substitute Adil Chihi gave the visitors hope within two minutes of his introduction, but Piotr Trochowski settled the nerves of the home fans with a penalty four minutes from time.
With Labbadia recalling the first-team regulars who were rested for their midweek Europa League win over Guingamp, Hamburg looked lively from the outset. After spells of controlled possession, Hamburg's probing resulted in the opening goal when David Jarolim picked out Guerrero and the former Bayern Munich striker made no mistake from 12 yards.
Cologne threatened an equaliser through Maniche, but his header from a Pierre Wome cross drifted over the bar. It was Hamburg who ended the first half on top, though, Trochowski's 25-yard drive well saved by Cologne goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon.
Hamburg dominated the second half with Mladen Petric testing Mondragon within four minutes of the restart as did Dennis Aogo shortly afterwards. The second goal finally came after 66 minutes when another clinical finish from Guerrero gave Mondragon no chance.
Hamburg appeared to be cruising, but Cologne grabbed a lifeline out of the blue with Chihi cracking in a 25-yard drive. The visitors rarely threatened an equaliser, however, and a foul from Mondragon on Hamburg midfielder Ze Roberto resulted in a spot-kick which Trochowski slotted away to send Hamburg top, ahead of Bayer Leverkusen on goals scored.
Berlin fall to Werder
Werder Bremen edged a five-goal thriller with Hertha Berlin as all the goals came in just over half an hour in the second period. There was little to write home about in the first half with just one noteworthy chance for each side.
Hertha's Max Nicu saw his powerful shot saved by Bremen goalkeeper Tim Wiese after 20 minutes, while at the other end Mesut Ozil hit the post when left with just keeper Jaroslav Drobny to beat. Matters improved markedly in the second half and Bremen took the lead 12 minutes after the interval.
Ozil this time made no mistake when a 30-metre run left him alone with the goalkeeper again, keeping his cool to beat Drobny from close range. Wiese then suffered an injury on the hour mark and had to be replaced by Christian Vander, but the visitors doubled their lead on 74 minutes.
Drobny failed to cling on to a shot from Torsten Frings and Tim Borowski was on hand to collect the rebound and fire home from six yards. Three minutes later Hertha got back into the game when Lukasz Piszczek fired home a free-kick from 20 yards.
But Bremen effectively secured all three points soon after when Naldo headed home their third goal from a corner. There was still time for Patrik Ebert to reduce the deficit with a brilliant long-range effort, but Hertha were unable to find an equaliser in injury time as Bremen held on for the win.