Franco di Santo double drags Bremen out of bottom three
Argentina striker Franco di Santo marked his return from injury with both goals as Werder Bremen climbed out of the relegation places in Sunday`s 2-0 win over Hertha Berlin.
The ex-Chelsea and Wigan forward, who missed the final few league games of 2014 with a knee injury, produced two clinical strikes either side of half-time to lift Bremen from 16th to 12th.
Defeat at Bremen leaves Hertha 15th and just above the relegation zone, but things remain tight at the foot of the table with just three points separating the bottom six teams.
During heavy snowfall in Bavaria, hosts Augsburg went fifth in the table with a 3-1 win over Hoffenheim thanks to first-half goals from Turkey striker Halil Altintop and midfielder Tobias Werner.
Brazil striker Roberto Firmino headed Hoffenheim`s consolation goal just before the half-time whistle before striker Raul Bobadilla netted Augsburg`s third in the 93rd minute.
On Saturday, Borussia Dortmund slipped back to the bottom for the first time since November despite picking up a point in their goalless draw at fellow Champions League side Bayer Leverkusen.
Dortmund are enduring their worst start to a league season in 30 years and are bidding to avoid dropping out of Germany`s top flight for the first time since 1976.
Leverkusen, meanwhile, are in sixth place.
"That was an important point. I am happy, we`re within striking distance (of mid-table)," said Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp.
"I can`t preach that we are in a relegation battle and demand champagne football."
Schalke 04`s star striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar will miss Tuesday`s Bundesliga clash at leaders Bayern Munich after being sent off in their 1-0 league win over Hanover 96.
Huntelaar, who has claimed seven league goals this season, was shown a straight red for hacking down Hanover`s Manuel Schmiedebach five minutes from time.
Schalke went ahead at the Veltins Arena when midfielder Marco Hoeger slotted his shot past Hanover`s Germany goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler with 32 minutes gone.
The win lifted Di Matteo`s Schalke, who face holders Real Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League next month, up to fourth.
Pep Guardiola`s Bayern had their lead cut to eight points on Friday when they suffered a shock 4-1 hammering at second-placed VfL Wolfsburg as the Bundesliga resumed after the winter break.
Borussia Moenchengladbach went third in the league on Saturday after Patrick Herrmann netted their second-half goal in a 1-0 win over VfB Stuttgart, who dropped to second from bottom.
Herrmann drilled home Branimir Hrgota`s swirling cross 20 minutes from time to move Lucien Favre`s side up behind leaders Bayern and VfL Wolfsburg.
Freiburg`s 4-1 win over Frankfurt featured a second-half hat-trick from ex-Bayern striker Nils Petersen, who came off the bench to grab the points.
Freiburg are now 14th with their win also sending Dortmund to the bottom.
Cologne pulled away from the relegation zone and up to tenth with a 2-0 win at strugglers Hamburg, who dropped into the bottom three.
Cologne picked up their fifth away win, to match Bayern`s tally on the road as midfielder Marcel Risse scored both second-half goals.
Mainz are 11th after romping to a 5-0 win over Paderborn as midfielder Yunus Malli scored twice and set up their third.