Hamburg SV rallied to beat Hannover 96 3-1 on Sunday and plunge their northern Bundesliga rivals deeper into crisis.
In the late match, Shinji Okazaki scored two goals to pace FSV Mainz 05 to a 3-2 victory at Werder Bremen.
Goals from Milan Badelj, Maximilian Beister and Hakan Calhanoglu ended Hamburg’s two-match losing run and kept Hannover winless in seven games.
Szabolcs Huszti had put the visitors ahead in the 28th minute, but Hamburg fought back and quickly established control after Badelj’s equalizer three minutes later.
Hannover finished with 10 men following Salif Sane’s second yellow card in stoppage-time.
The win helped Hamburg climb up to 11th, leading Werder on goal-difference.
“We all have to understand finally that we are in a dangerous situation,” Hannover goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler said. “We don’t have to play beautifully, but we have to get some points.”
Hannover got off to a promising start when Huszti punished mistakes by Hamburg’s goalkeeper Rene Adler and Tomas Rincon.
Adler kicked the ball to Rincon, who was surrounded by three Hannover players and could not control it. Huszti took advantage to steal the ball and slot past Adler.
Badelj replied quickly. Zieler punched a free-kick by Calhanoglu outside the penalty area, but Badelj fired a perfectly timed volley over the goalkeeper into the net.
Beister put the home side ahead for good less than a minute into the second half with a diving header from Heiko Westermann’s cross.
“We fought back well and deserved to win,” Beister said.
Beister turned provider for Calhanoglu’s goal in the 84th minute.
Mainz profited from two bizarre mistakes by Werder Bremen goalkeeper Sebastian Mielitz early in the match.
Mielitz came out of his area in the seventh minute, but did not go for Sebastian Polter’s long ball which Nicolai Mueller looped over the goalkeeper and into the net. Ten minutes later, Mielitz misjudged a high ball from Zdenek Pospech, let it bounce off the crossbar and Okazaki pounced to score from close range.
Okazaki’s clinical finishing made it 3-0 in the 70th minute, before Eljero Elia and Franco di Santo scored in the last five minutes to make the finish interesting.
Bremen fell to their second straight loss, while Mainz won their second straight.