The only ever-present side since the Bundesliga was founded in 1963, Hamburg SV, dropped into the relegation playoff spot on Saturday after a 3-0 loss at TSG 1899 Hoffenheim which left coach Bert van Marwijk fuming.
The Dutchman said his team had played like amateurs after slumping to their fifth defeat in a row to leave them 16th in the 18-team table.
Second-placed Bayer 04 Leverkusen, who had lost their previous three games, revived their campaign by coming from behind to beat VfB Stuttgart 2-1 thanks to Stefan Kiessling’s 10th goal of the season and a late winner from Eren Derdiyok.
Kevin-Prince Boateng also scored late to give Schalke 04 a 2-1 win over 10-man VfL Wolfsburg to maintain their challenge for a European place, while Augsburg set a club record of seven Bundesliga games without defeat by beating Werder Bremen 3-1.
South Korean pair Park Joo-ho and Koo Ja-cheol scored to give FSV Mainz 05 a 2-0 win over SC Freiburg, while Borussia Moenchengladbach dropped out of the top four after losing 3-1 at Hannover 96.
Leverkusen’s win made a small dent into Bayern Munich’s lead at the top, reducing it to 10 points with the Bavarians to face Eintracht Frankfurt at home yesterday.
Unbeaten Bayern have 50 points from 18 games, with Leverkusen on 40, Borussia Dortmund, who won 2-1 at Eintracht Braunschweig on Friday, on 36 and Schalke on 34.
Hoffenheim started the weekend with the worst defensive record in the Bundesliga, but handed that over to Hamburg after an embarrassingly easy win.
“Our big problem is that we give away goals too easily,” said Van Marwijk, who led the Netherlands to the 2010 World Cup final and took over at Hamburg after Thorsten Fink was sacked earlier this season.
“Their second goal was the crunch point, after that we played like amateurs. We must complete a game without conceding a goal if we’re not going to score ourselves,” he said.
Brazilian forward Roberto Firmino gave Hoffenheim a fourth-minute lead, putting the finishing touch to a swift counterattack, and Niklas Suele headed the second just before halftime.
Andreas Beck added the finishing touch when he turned in Firmino’s pass on the hour, the 44th goal Hamburg have conceded in 19 games.
Leverkusen suffered an early setback when Moritz Leitner gave Stuttgart a 12th-minute lead with a long-range shot, the 21-year-old’s first Bundesliga goal, but Kiessling equalized with a typically clinical finish in the 26th minute and Swiss forward Derdiyok won the game with a stooping header six minutes from time.
Schalke took an early lead through Felipe Santana, but needed a late goal from Boateng after Maximilian Arnold replied for Wolfsburg, who had Daniel Caligirui sent off for dissent early in the second half.
Augsburg made the worst possible start when Jan-Ingwer Callsen-Bracker headed into his own goal after three minutes, but Tobias Werner leveled with a deflected free-kick after 11 minutes.
Werder had Santiago Garcia dismissed for a second bookable offense just before halftime and Augsburg took full advantage as Halil Altintop and Andre Hahn wrapped up the three points in the second half, lifting them to ninth place.