SV Hamburg kept the German title race alive on Tuesday thanks to a 1-0 victory over struggling FC Cologne.
Cologne fought, but Hamburg won
Hamburg are now two points behind leaders Bayern Munich who need five points to defend their title and are at home to VfB Stuttgart on Wednesday.
German international defender Lukas Sinkiewicz scored an own goal after three minutes to help Hamburg move seven points ahead of third-placed Werder Bremen with two games left.
If Bremen fail to win their game in hand against MSV Duisburg on Wednesday Hamburg will claim second spot and direct entry into the Champions League. It would be a remarkable achievement for Thomas Doll's team who finished eighth last season.
Leverkusen thrash Hertha
In the race for the final UEFA Cup spot Bayer Leverkusen took a giant stride towards Europe thrashing nearest rivals Hertha Berlin 5-1 on Tuesday. Leverkusen, who have collected more points than any other team since the league restart in January, are now five points ahead of sixth-placed Hertha with two games left.
Berlin's Boateng, Leverkusen's Paul Freier and Berlin's Gilberto (from left) challenge for the ball
Brazilian international Juan scored after five minutes to put Bayer ahead and it got progressively worse for Hertha. Bulgarian international Dimitar Berbatov scored twice in as many minutes to take his season's goals tally to 18. Berbatov, who is tipped for a big-money exit in the summer, is now just two goals behind the league's top-scorer Miroslav Klose.
The 5-1 home defeat piles the pressure on Hertha manager Falko Gotz who targeted the Champions League in pre-season.
Dortmund come back
Leverkusen's win means Borussia Dortmund may have to enter the much-maligned Intertoto Cup despite their 2-1 comeback win over Hannover.
Hanover's Yankov (right) attacks Dortmund's Sahin
Czech international Tomas Rosicky produced a brilliant free-kick just three minutes after coming on to pull Dortmund level in the 59th minute. Christian Worns then scored the winner in the 81st minute to sink Hannover. It was a good night all round for Dortmund with Czech international forward Jan Koller playing his first match in seven months.
The 32-year-old Koller, who had been sidelined with a cruciate ligament injury, came on in the 71st minute as he builds fitness ahead of next month's World Cup in Germany.
Nuremberg's Kiessling falls over Moenchengladbach goalkeeper Keller
Nuremberg secured their place in the first division thanks to a 5-2 victory over Borussia Mönchengladbach. Top scorer Robert Vitteck added two more goals to his resume along with one each from Jan Polak, Ivan Saenko and Stefan Kiessling. Gladbach was ahead with 2-1 in the 36th minute on the strength of goals by Ze Antonio and Sonck, but after shocking their opponents into action, they failed to hold them off.