Werder Bremen on Saturday denied Bayern Munich an early championship title as they beat Energie Cottbus 2-0 in a Bundesliga match played in Bremen.
Cottbus' Timo Rost, left, and Bremen's Petri Pasanen, right, challenge for the ball
Bayern, who are playing at VfL Wolfsburg on Sunday, would have secured their 20th Bundesliga title had Bremen and Schalke 04 both failed to win.
Bayern lead the standings on 66 points with four games to play, while Bremen are on 57 with three matches remaining. Schalke, who were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Hanover 96, are on 55 points.
SV Hamburg and VfB Stuttgart are fourth and fifth respectively with 51 points.
In Bremen, the home side struggled in the first half against a defensively minded Cottbus team as they failed to make use of their many chances.
Bremen's Hugo Almeida, right, scores the second goal against Cottbus' goalkeeper Gerhard Tremmel
Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf brought on strikers Markus Rosenberg and Hugo Almeida in the 56th minute and it was Rosenberg who opened the scoring in the 67th, before Almeida added a second in the 79th.
Germany midfielder Torsten Frings was yellow-carded in the second half and will now miss his side's midweek game at Hamburg through suspension.
Schaaf complimented his side after the victory. "I am proud that my side had the patience to continue working for the victory. They worked very hard and in the end deserved the goals they got.
"I am disappointed that Torsten Frings will be missing in the important game in Hamburg next week, but we have good players to replace him," he said.
Hanover at Schalke
In Gelsenkirchen, a free-kick from Arnold Bruggink opened the scoring in the eighth minute for Hanover. The goal was at first claimed and accredited to former Schalke striker Mike Hanke, but was after the match given to the Dutchman.
Schalke's Jermaine Jones, left, and Hanover's Mike Hanke challenge for the ball
Schalke, who have won their two matches since firing coach Mirko Slomka, hit back five minutes from the break through Halil Altintop.
Hanke was honest after the game and said that he did not touch the ball. "It went straight in and I am just happy that we scored. I am also happy with the way we played and we did well."
Schalke's midfielder Jermaine Jones admitted that his side was very disappointed with the draw. "We wanted to win the game and we needed to get the three points, so we are obviously disappointed that we failed to achieve those objectives."
Hamburg bests Hansa Rostock
Hamburg's Ivica Olic celebrates his second goal
Hamburg, who had not won in their last six matches, managed to get their European aspirations back on track with a 3-1 victory over struggling Hansa Rostock.
The visitors opened the scoring in the 18th minute through Ivica Olic. Captain Rafael van der Vaart added a second just nine minutes later, before Olic scored his second six minutes after the restart.
Rostock pulled one back through a Joris Mathijsen own goal in the 76th minute.
Bielefeld's Sibusiso Zuma, 2nd from right, and Radim Kucera, right, challenges for the ball with Bochum's Marcel Maltritz, 2nd from left
In the drop zone, Arminia Bielefeld managed to put some distance between themselves and the relegation places with a 2-0 victory against VfL Bochum.
Both goals were scored in the second half through Andre Mijatovic and Jonas Kamper to take Bielefeld to 32 points.
Last-placed MSV Duisburg, who are at home to Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday, have 26 points, Rostock 27 and Nuremberg, who played to a goalless draw in Dortmund on Friday night have 28.
The final match on Saturday saw Hertha Berlin beat SC Karlsruhe 3-1. Gojko Kacar, Marko Pantelic and Rudolf Skacel scored for the home side, while Edmond Kapllani replied for the visitors.