Germany striker Stefan Kiessling scored twice on Sunday to put Bayer Leverkusen back in the title race and seal a 4-2 win over Hamburg while Bayern Munich stayed top of the Bundesliga.
After their shock defeat by Nuremberg, Leverkusen's win leaves them third in the league, but just two points behind leaders Bayern who needed two goals from winger Arjen Robben to come from behind and beat Freiburg on Saturday.
"I think the team improved a lot in the second half, we were more calm and precise in our play and deserved the win," said Bayer coach Jupp Heynckes. "We showed a good response (after the Nuremberg defeat) and the players earned their wages."
Kiessling's double makes him the league's top-scorer with 16 goals for the season as he has now scored three goals in two games. The Germany striker opened the scoring, then produced a powerful header after Swiss striker Eren Derdiyok also scored to put the hosts in control.
Hamburg fought back to 3-2 through goals by Brazil midfielder Ze Roberto and Czech Republic defender David Rozehnal before Leverkusen's Gonzalo Castro settled the tie with his side's fourth goal on 84 minutes.
Pizarro lifts Bremen
Earlier, Werder Bremen moved a step closer to a European place for next season when their ex-Chelsea striker Claudio Pizarro scored a late goal to seal their 1-0 win at Hoffenheim. Bremen were heading to a 0-0 draw before Pizarro popped up in the 81st-minute to mark his 100th Bundesliga appearance by lobbing Hoffenheim goalkeeper Timo Hildebrand. It was the Peruvian's 11th league goal of the season and showed why Bremen were prepared to pay English giants Chelsea two million euros for him last August to bring him back from the Premier League.
The result leaves Bremen sixth in the table and one-point from the top five which would qualify them for a place in Europe with eight league games left this season. "Today we have been shown again why we made such an effort to bring him back," said Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf whose side drew 1-1 with Valencia in the Europa League last Thursday. "Claudio can be vital in such a game, last Thursday's match clearly took a lot out of us."
Bayern rallies for win
On Saturday, Bayern Munich suffered a Champions League hangover before Dutch winger Arjen Robben scored twice to seal a 2-1 win over strugglers Freiburg to put the hosts back on top of the Bundesliga.
Earlier, rock-bottom Hertha Berlin slipped closer to relegation after suffering a 2-1 home defeat to fellow strugglers Nuremberg who grabbed an injury-time winner. Police made 30 arrests and four officers were injured as Hertha fans rampaged through Berlin's Olympic Stadium after Nuremberg's Greece striker Angelos Charisteas scored the winner in stoppage time. Their second straight wins lifts Nuremberg up to 15th and out of the relegation zone.
Dortmund moved up to fourth with a 4-1 victory at Bochum while Wolfsburg claimed their fourth-straight league win under caretaker manager Lorenz-Guenther Koestner when they hammered Moenchengladbach 4-0 to go eighth.
Hanover got their second consecutive win under new coach Mirko Slomka with a 2-1 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt to go 16th.
On Friday, former German international striker Kevin Kuranyi grabbed a 55th-minute winner to keep Schalke second in the league, sealing a 2-1 win against Stuttgart. It was Schalke's third successive win and their eighth at home this season while Kuranyi's timely strike was his 14th of the campaign.