Werder Bremen enjoyed a much needed 3-1 win over Cologne on Sunday to move up to seventh place in the Bundesliga and keep in distant touch with leaders Bayer Leverkusen.
Diego scored Bremen's opener
Diego opened the scoring for Bremen in the day's only Bundesliga clash with a penalty on the quarter-hour mark, while Naldo made it 2-0 with a header just before the break.
Milivoje Novakovic pulled one back for the visitors on 48 minutes but Hugo Almeida restored Bremen's two-goal cushion seven minutes later.
The win moves Bremen up four places to seventh on 20 points, but Thomas Schaaf's side are still eight points adrift of Leverkusen, who downed Schalke 2-1 to stay top of the Bundesliga on Saturday.
Hoffenheim stayed second, level on 28 points with Leverkusen but with a slightly inferior goal difference, after edging Wolfsburg 3-2 while champions Bayern Munich lost ground after conceding two late goals in a 2-2 draw at Borussia Moenchengladbach.
Bremen trio fire home
Despite the yawning gap to the top, Bremen will take hope from the fact that they are now only five points behind Juergen Klinsmann's Bayern.
Cologne went into the game at the Weser stadium two points clear of Bremen but went behind after Frank Baumann was fouled in the area by Pierre Wome, allowing Diego to open the scoring from the resultant spot kick.
Naldo, center, Diego, left, and Torsten Frings were all involved in Bremen's goals
Christoph Daum's side came more into the contest as the half progressed but suffered a sucker punch just before the break as Brazilian Naldo headed home a Torsten Frings corner to double the home side's lead.
Novakovic took advantage of a piece of misfortune for Bremen defender Per Mertesacker to fire in a low shot from 11 metres to reduce the deficit three minutes after the restart but Almeida
quickly restored Bremen's lead, making it 3-1 with a fierce shot after Pedro Geromel failed to clear his lines.
Claudio Pizarro nearly made it four for Bremen two minutes later but the Uruguayan fired just wide. Almeida also went close twice as Bremen finished the stronger of the two sides.
Hertha move up, Hamburg down
In Saturday action, Hertha Berlin came from behind to beat SV Hamburg to move into fourth on 24 points, leaving Hamburg a point behind in fifth.
Borussia Dortmund defeated Eintracht Frankfurt 4-0, bottom club Energie Cottbus beat Karlsruhe 1-0 while VfB Stuttgart and Arminia Bielefeld finished goalless. On Friday, Hanover and VfL Bochum drew 1-1.