Mladen Petric scored twice to give Hamburger SV a 2-1 win over Hannover on Sunday to keep his team equal on points with defending champion Bayern Munich and just three points adrift of Bundesliga leaders Wolfsburg.
Bayern and Hamburg both have 54 points but Bayern are ahead on goal difference.
In Sunday’s other game, Hertha Berlin came from behind to beat Werder Bremen 2-1 and snap a three-game losing streak. The win moved Hertha back into fourth place on 52 points, one ahead of Stuttgart.
Hamburg’s Petric volleyed Jerome Boateng’s cross home for his first goal after just two minutes, while his second was a tap-in after Hannover goalkeeper Robert Enke parried but could not hold onto a shot by Paolo Guerrero in the 52nd minute.
Hannover pulled one back with 20 minutes left when Mikael Forssell converted a penalty after Guy Demel handled the ball.
Bremen took the lead in Berlin when Hertha’s defense failed to clear a corner and Per Mertesacker prodded the ball over the line two minutes before the break.
Playing without injured playmakers Diego and Mesut Oezil, Bremen were the better side until late in the second half, although Cicero did hit the post with a header in the 25th minute for Hertha.
Josip Simunic headed in Hertha’s equalizer when he rose to meet Pal Dardai’s cross in the 71st.
Substitute Amine Chermiti, after earlier heading against Bremen’s post, created Hertha’s winner. After winning possession on the halfway line, Chermiti advanced towards Bremen’s goal before feeding the ball to Raffael, whose shot from 20m took a slight deflection off defender Mertesacker before hitting the roof of the net.