Hamburger SV gave their survival hopes a massive lift with a surprise 2-0 win over Champions League contenders Hertha Berlin at the Volksparkstadion on Sunday evening.
A second-half brace from Nicolai Muller secured victory for the hosts, who halted a three-match winless streak to pull seven points clear of the relegation zone in 10th place.
Die Alte Dame, meanwhile, ended the weekend in third spot, just a point clear of Schalke in fourth after they beat FC Koln 3-1 the previous day.
The visitors struggled to assert themselves on the game, although they did create the first clear-cut chance on 10 minutes when Salomon Kalou tested Die Rothosen goalkeeper Rene Adler with a header from Marvin Plattenhardt’s cross on 10 minutes.
But Bruno Labbadia’s side were soon asking questions of their own and Artjoms Rudnevs sent a header just wide of the right post from Matthias Ostrzolek’s cross six minutes later.
Gotoku Sakai then went close on two occasions in the closing stages of the first half. The right-back’s first effort on 35 minutes from the edge of the area was kept out by Rune Jarstein, who denied the Japan international again nine minutes later from 16 yards out.
Hamburg continued to press for the opening goal after the break and they were rewarded just 13 minutes in when Muller fired home into the bottom right corner of the net from the edge of the area.
Rudnevs went within a whisker of doubling the home team’s lead on 65 minutes with a shot from inside the area on the right, but Muller was the one to beat Jarstein again 10 minutes later, scoring from an almost identical position to his first goal.
Lewis Holtby nearly added a third at the death but his strike from 25 yards out flew just to the left of the target, with Hamburg recording their first win in four league outings.