Hamburg had to make do with a draw at Nuremberg on Sunday. A dire game exploded in the last 15 minutes when the visitors opened the scoring. Meanwhile, Augsburg bagged three precious points in a nail-biter in Düsseldorf.
You could comfortably throw a blanket over the no-man's land of the Bundesliga at the moment, with eight points separating Schalke in fifth and Nuremberg in 15th - a smaller gap than between league leaders Bayern and Leverkusen in second place.
So league positions seemed a little irrelevant in Sunday's 1-1 draw between 15th-placed Nuremberg and 10th-placed Hamburg.
Both sides came into the game on the back of indifferent pre-Christmas form, but Nuremberg, suddenly dangling over the relegation precipice after Wolfsburg's victory against Stuttgart on Saturday, began with greater urgency. The home team also had their new coach Michael Wiesinger to impress.
Timothy Chandler, the hosts' marauding defender from the US, and Robert Mak, their Slovakian midfielder, provided a continual threat down the right, and almost broke through a couple of times in the first ten minutes. But neither they nor anyone else could offer much in the way of shots on target.
HSV were particularly disappointing, despite the return from injury of their star striker Rafael van der Vaart. Indeed, his presence presented the guests a certain predictability: their attacks throughout the first period consisted of long balls towards the Dutchman, who was then meant to feed in either Artjoms Rudnevs or Son Heung-min.
The tactic rarely came off, and all of Hamburg's attacks in the first half stuttered to a halt somewhere in the final third.
Hamburg's talent only showed in the second half, when Son began to impose himself on the left, and German international Marcel Jansen found more and more time to come forward - once rattling the side-netting after a forceful run to the edge of the area.
Slowly tightening their grip on the game as the second half progressed, HSV finally broke through in the 70th minute. Jansen sprinted to win the ball at Nuremberg's byline, found Dennis Aogo, whose cross to the far post was headed in by Rudnevs, comfortably beating Javier Pinola to the ball.
The goal duly kicked the hosts into life, and Nuremberg found an equalizer just five minutes later. It came via some excellent build-up play from the otherwise invisible Timo Gebhart, whose brilliant cut-back picked out Tomas Pekhart unmarked.
That ushered in some frenetic closing minutes, with Son coming close at least three times, once denied by some extremely brave defending by Nuremberg's goalkeeper Raphael Schäfer. In the end, Hamburg will have been more disappointed to settle for a draw, but it was still a useful away point.
Augsburg edge Düsseldorf
In Sunday's late game, Augsburg began what will doubtless become a desperate struggle against relegation. Having chalked up nine measly points in the first half of the season - with only their fellow Bavarians Fürth for company at the bottom of the table - they travelled to Fortuna Düsseldorf, who were perched only three places but 12 points above them. And it was a great start, ending in a nail-biting 3-2 win for the visitors.
The first half ambled along without incident for 40 minutes, Augsburg making all the running and looking much the better side, but with little to show for their efforts. Then their hosts handed them two gift-wrapped goals.
The first was bestowed on Sascha Mölders, who took advantage when Düsseldorf defender Juanan and goalkeeper Fabian Giefer contrived to mess up a simple headed back-pass. The ball bounced embarrassingly between the keeper's legs, and Mölders slipped round behind him to help it on its way. The striker's celebrations were only slightly contained by his smirks.
The second came five minutes later, just as the half was wrapping up. This time, Düsseldorf combined to produce an ensemble display of dire defending - first they allowed Dong-Won Ji to slip through them on the left. The South Korean passed to a totally unmarked Tobias Werner inside the area, who scooped the ball speculatively to the far post, where it bounced past two Düsseldorf defenders and Ja-Cheol Koo finished from a tight angle.
The slapstick wasn't finished. In the 71st minute, Mölders leapt at an attempted clearance by goalkeeper Giefer after another back-pass rolled slightly short. It slapped neatly into the striker's backside and bounced into the gaping net.
Düsseldorf come back
Incensed by the ignominy of it all, Düsseldorf stormed up the other end straight from the re-start, and got a goal back within 50 seconds. Stefan Reisinger capitalized from close range after a brilliant solo dribble and cutback from the Australian Robbie Kruse.
Augsburg responded by panicking a little in the closing 15 minutes, despite their two-goal cushion, and gave away a string of free-kicks, one of which needed to be brilliantly saved by goalkeeper Alexander Manninger.
Then, when it looked like the visitors had more or less done enough to scrape home, Reisinger popped up again in injury time to turn a Düsseldorf corner in. The game could now only be measured in seconds. Barely 90 later - with half a minute of injury time to go, Reisinger had the ball in the net for the third time, only for the referee to rule that his team-mate Dani Schahin had climbed on an Augsburg defender to nod it down to him. The striker's protestations did not change the official's mind.
Augsburg went home with their precious three points, and are now just one behind Hoffenheim. Düsseldorf, meanwhile, stayed in 14th place.