SV Werder Bremen picked up an important three points as SV Darmstadt 98 shocked FC Schalke 04 in Bundesliga action on Sunday afternoon.
Bremen defeated Hamburger SV 2-1 as Darmstadt beat Schalke by the same scoreline.
Max Kruse scored the first goal at the Weserstadion before setting up a second for Florian Kainz to help his side to eighth with 39 points, just two adrift of the European qualification places.
Hamburg, meanwhile, remained in 14th place with 33 points, just one point above the drop zone.
Michael Gregoritsch had kicked off the Northern derby in fine fashion for Hamburg as he headed in an Aaron Hunt cross after a quick start by Bremen as Kruse forced goalkeeper Christian Mathenia into a good early save.
Zlatko Junuzovic then saw a free-kick hit a post for the hosts as they looked for an equaliser.
And their goal duly arrived on 41 minutes as Kruse latched onto a volleyed pass from Fin Bartels to head home from close range, for his ninth goal of the season.
Kruse then laid a good ball onto Florian Kainz for what proved to be the winning goal on 75 minutes.
The result extended Bremen’s unbeaten run to nine games.
In the day’s other game, bottom side Darmstadt’s fate may be sealed but they picked up a morale-boosting three points in their 2-1 win over Schalke.
Coke had cancelled out Mario Vrancic’s 11th minute opener in the 75 minute, after Guido Burgstaller had seen his 58th minute penalty saved by Michael Esser. Jerome Gondorf then scored in the third minute of injury time at the end of the game to secure all three points.
Thilo Kehrer had, in the 81st minute been dismissed for a second yellow card.
The result saw Darmstadt move onto 18 points, 14 points from safety – with 24 points still to play for.
Schalke remained in 11th with 37 points, where a win could have seen the side move up at least three places.