Werder Bremen left the relegation zone after a 3-1 win at Freiburg. Meanwhile Mainz beat Hamburg 4-2, pushing them above Bayern Munich, who lost for the third time in a row on Saturday.
The Hamburg-Mainz game was closer than the score suggests
In Sunday's Bundesliga football, both Werder Bremen and Mainz secured important victories - rescuing the former from the relegation zone and pushing the latter into the top four.
Mainz travelled to Hamburg and recorded a 4-2 win, with man-of-the-match Thomas Schuerrle scoring twice for the visitors.
Hamburg's opening goal came from Marcell Jansen, although replays show the ball did not actually cross the line. Mainz leveled through Schuerrle's header in the 56th minute, only for Hamburg to pull clear again three minutes later as Mladen Petric took advantage of a poor clearance by Mainz.
Again Mainz equalized, this time through an own goal from Gojko Kacar. A quick break then allowed Schuerrle to score his second goal, with a well placed chip over keeper Frank Rost. Then substitute Florian Heller put the game beyond doubt two minutes from time.
Torsten Frings helped Bremen to those crucial points
The win sees Mainz move into fourth in the table on 43 points, while Hamburg are seventh on 37 points.
Bremen's 3-1 win in Freiburg secured them a vital three points in their battle against relegation, and gives them their first win since mid-January.
Bremen dominated from the start, with Sandro Wagner scoring the opening goal on 12 minutes. Freiburg's top goalscorer Papiss Demba Cisse then scored an equalizer from the penalty spot just after half time, with his 17th goal of the season.
However Peruvian Claudio Pizzaro broke the tie in the 76th minute and Marko Marin added another one for good measure in injury time.
Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf said his side deserved the victory.
"Possibly we gave away the ball too easily, but we played well," he said.
On Saturday, Bayern Munich suffered their third defeat in a row, losing 3-1 to hosts Hanover, who are now third in the league table.
Mohammed Abdellaoue and Konstantin Rausch gave Hanover a 2-0 lead, before Bayern's Arjen Robben pulled one back in the 55th minute. Adding to the Bavarians' woes was a red card for defender Breno in the 73rd minute.
"How we played today, that was definitely the low point of the season for us," Bayern's business manager, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, said after the match.
"I think my players really tried hard in the second half and they are now really disappointed. We all expected something different," said Bayern coach Louis van Gaal, who is under immense pressure in a disastrous season for the Bavarian side and could be sacked.
Glimmer of hope
Schalke coach Felix Magath also expected something different in his team's clash with relegation-threatened Stuttgart. A penalty for a controversial handball decision not only gave the hosts an early lead, it also reduced Schalke to 10 men, as Bendikt Höwedes was sent off for the offense.
Zdravko Kuzmanovic converted the penalty for Stuttgart
Magath complained bitterly and even Stuttgart coach Bruno Labbadia said the decision was "harsh" and that a penalty was "punishment enough."
Last-placed Mönchengladbach also won their match, beating Hoffenheim 2-0. Captain Filip Daems converted a penalty in the 65th minute before Igor de Camargo scored five minutes later. Despite the win over a lackluster Hoffenheim, Gladbach remain at the bottom of the table.
In Saturday's late match, Bayer Leverkusen beat Wolfsburg 3-0, securing them the runner-up position in the table, ahead of Hanover who only briefly held the number-two spot before Leverkusen's win.
"After being 1-0 up, Bayer [Leverkusen] dominated the game," said national coach Joachim Löw, who watched the match. Lars Bender, Renato Augusto and Stefan Kiessling scored all the goals in the first half.
Nuremberg had another three goals up their sleeves after this one
Nuremberg goal fest
Meanwhile, in Saturday's other matches, Nuremberg thrashed Hamburg-based St. Pauli 5-0, with Christian Eigler scoring no less than four of those goals. Nuremberg have now been unbeaten in the past seven matches.
Frankfurt continued their goalless second half of the season, drawing 0-0 at home with fellow southwest team Kaiserslautern. The match started 15 minutes late after fans clashed at the train station next to Frankfurt's Commerzbank arena.
On Friday, Bundesliga champions elect Borussia Dortmund beat Cologne 1-0, though the final score didn't reflect their dominance. Cologne goalie Michael Rensing made a few stunning saves, keeping the score low, given the chances Dortmund had.
Author: Nicole Goebel, Catherine Bolsover (dpa, Reuters)
Editor: Kyle James