Hamburg's Bundesliga season lurched to a new low after defeat to Werder Bremen in the northern derby on Saturday. Meanwhile, Borussia Dortmund were held by stubborn strugglers Nuremberg and Bayern Munich smashed Schalke.
Hamburg's decision to dispense with Thorsten Fink did not pay immediate dividends for the under-siege club, with Nils Petersen claiming a double for Bremen.
A crafty backheel from Eljero Elia put Clemens Fritz through on the right in the 32nd minute, and the full-back's cross required the simplest of touches for Petersen to score his first.
Hamburg at least showed some attacking intent as they sought an equalizer, going close three times in the first 15 minutes of the second half.
But their forgettable afternoon was completed when goalkeeper Rene Adler was left stranded after going up for a last-minute corner, and Petersen made it a brace with a superbly placed shot from well outside the area.
Hamburg will hope to appoint a full-time head coach soon in a bid to end their free-fall, with Saturday's result sending them to 16th in the table.
Frustrating day for Dortmund
That was due in some part to Nuremberg's industrious 1-1 draw with Dortmund, after Per Nilsson canceled out Marcel Schmelzer's superb first-half free kick. There was an element of luck to Nilsson's 51st-minute volley, as the Swedish defender appeared to handle before lashing home.
Dortmund were hardly at full-strength for their trip to Bavaria. Head coach Jürgen Klopp was missing several players through injury - such as Mats Hummels - and elected to start Robert Lewandowski, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Nuri Sahin on the bench. He then was forced to substitute key men Schmelzer and Marco Reus at half-time after they picked up knocks.
Combined with Bayern Munich's 4-0 thumping of Schalke, the result meant the reigning champions pulled level on points and goal difference with Dortmund.
Buoyed up by a home crowd of 62,000, Schalke threatened on the break in the early stages but were brought undone when Bayern struck twice in under two minutes. Bastian Schweinsteiger - back in Pep Guardiola's starting XI - opened the scoring after some Arjen Robben trickery in the 21st minute, before Mario Mandzukic headed in Bayern's second soon after.
Goals to Franck Ribery and substitute Claudio Pizarro completed the rout against beleaguered Schalke. The hosts had few positives in a match labeled the "Boateng derby," with Schalke's Kevin-Prince coming up against younger brother and Bayern defender Jerome.
Kruse control on debut
Having found themselves out of their depth against Manchester United in the Champions League on Wednesday, Bayer Leverkusen returned to form with their 4-1 spanking of Mainz.
Leverkusen brought their scoring boots to Mainz, with Robbie Kruse - on full debut - and Stefan Kießling getting in on the fun.
Australia international Robbie Kruse was handed a debut start by Leverkusen head coach Sami Hyypia, and he did not let the Finn down by scoring a well-taken brace. Lars Bender's deflected strike and a diving header from striker Stefan Kiessling rounded out Leverkusen's scoring, with Yunus Malli getting a late consolation goal for the hosts.
Croatian veteran Ivica Olic got a brace of his own as Wolfsburg defeated Hoffenheim 2-1, having come from a goal down. Anthony Modeste's goal put the away side ahead, but some awful Hoffenheim defending either side of half-time handed Olic chances the wily striker was never going to pass up.
Hanover edged past Augsburg 2-1 thanks to Szalbocs Huszti's 90th-minute spot-kick, with referee Christian Dingert kept busy by a series of penalty calls for both sides - most of which involved hand balls.