Another superb display from Anthony Modeste wasn't enough to stop Cologne losing a thrilling Rhine derby, as Lars Stindl's strike won it for Gladbach. Hamburg picked up a big win and Mainz sunk further in to trouble.
Cologne 2 – 3 Borussia Mönchengladbach
(Clemens 18', Modeste 58' - Vestergaard 13', Traore 55', Stindl' 81')
A late Lars Stindl strike condemned Cologne to defeat in the Rhine derby despite the heroics of Anthony Modeste.
The visiting fans who made the short journey south didn't have to wait long to celebrate at the home of their rivals. Jannik Vestergaard was allowed to get a run on the hosts' defense and powered home an early header from Thorgan Hazard's corner.
Cologne responded quickly through a familiar source - but this time Anthony Modeste was the provider. The prolific frontman took a ball down on his chest in the left hand channel before measuring a sensational through ball that split Gladbach's center backs and allowed Christian Clemens to sweep home.
The home fans were silenced once again when Ibrahima Traore, who had replaced Raffael just moments earlier, re-established the lead. The midfielder swung in a cross from the left for Hazard but the Belgian failed to get a touch and the cross nestled in Timo Horn's net. But Modeste soon had the RheinEnergie Stadium bouncing again when he hooked in his 23rd league goal of the season on the volley following free kick from deep.
But they couldn't hang on. Timo Horn, who signed a new contract on the eve of the game, did well to parry Mahmoud Dahoud's volley but Lars Stindl was on hand to win it for Gladbach and break Cologne hearts.
Hamburg 2 – 1 Hoffenheim
(Hunt 25', 76' – Kramaric (pen) 35')
A brace from Aaron Hunt led Hamburg to victory over Champions League contenders Hoffenheim. Hunt broke the deadlock with a free kick close to the right edge of the box. The former Werder Bremen man's effort was powerfully struck but on Oliver Baumann's side of the goal and the Hoffenheim keeper, impressive for most of the season, should have got something on it.
It was from another dead ball that Hoffenheim leveled things up. Matthias Ostrzolek chopped down Ermin Bicakcic in the box and Andrej Kramaric tucked away the penalty low to the keeper's left.
The winner came in somewhat controversial circumstances. Bobby Wood was set free after some nice interplay in Hamburg's midfield before the USA frontman squared to Hunt who gleefully grabbed his second and a critical three points that gives Hamburg breathing space at the bottom.
Freiburg 1 –0 Mainz
Nils Petersen enhanced his growing reputation as a supersub, his seventh goal of the season from the bench handing Freiburg a win that moves them up to 6th and keeps struggling Mainz looking over their shoulders.
The German frontman tucked in the only goal of the game at the far post after Mainz failed to clear their lines following a cross. The visitors felt aggrieved at the goal, claiming Petersen was being played onside by a defender lying prone on the floor. Mainz thought they'd equalized shortly after but Jhon Cordoba's strike was correctly ruled out for offside.
RB Leipzig 1 – 0 Bayer Leverkusen
Yusuf Poulsen's winner in the dying seconds strengthens Leipzig's grip on second place and leaves Leverkusen with a little work to do to secure safety.
Both sides spurned chances and the game looked to be heading for a stalemate particularly after Willi Orban was sent off for Leipzig after 88 minutes. But then Emil Forsberg broke free down the left and had the composure to square for the onrushing Poulsen who squeezed a shot in off the post.
Schalke 4 –1 Wolfsburg
(Burgstaller 6', 77 Goretzka 23, Caligiuri 49' – Gomez (pen) 79')
The hosts flew out of the blocks and got their reward when Guido Burgstaller fired home his fifth Bundesliga goal since joining the Royal Blues in January. The former Nuremberg man sidefooted home from just inside the box after Max Meyer found him in the space between two Wolfsburg defenders.
It quickly got even better for Schlake, with Meyer again involved. The 21-year-old broke the defensive line with an intelligent pass to find Eric Choupo-Moting. The Cameroonian's cutback was blocked but fell kindly to Leon Goretzka who made no mistake to double the lead.
Choupo-Moting also provided the assist for Schalke's third, which wrapped up the game just after the break. This time his low cross from the left evaded everyone until it reached Daniel Caligiuri who struck home with his left foot to put one over the club he left in the summer. Burgstaller added the fourth with a left-footed finish from the edge of the box before Mario Gomez scored a consolation from the spot.