BERLIN, April 5 (Reuters) - Schalke 04 moved up to second place in the Bundesliga with a 1-0 home win over Hansa Rostock on Saturday while resurgent VfB Stuttgart beat Hamburg SV by the same score.
Schalke, who lost 1-0 at home to Barcelona in a Champions League quarter-final first leg in midweek, improved their chances of returning to the competition next season thanks to a Halil Altintop goal early in the second half.
Hamburg dropped a place to third after a Roberto Hilbert volley and one spectacular save from Stuttgart's 19-year-old keeper Sven Ulreich consigned the visitors to defeat.
Bayern Munich, who lead on 54 points, can take a big step closer to a 21st league title when they host VfL Bochum on Sunday.
With seven games left Schalke are second on 48 while Hamburg (47) cling on to the final Champions League place.
Werder Bremen are behind them on goal difference after a 2-1 victory at Hertha Berlin. Stuttgart, last season's champions, climb to fifth on 45.
Bayer Leverkusen are sixth with 44 points and will go third if they win at Borussia Dortmund on Sunday.
Stuttgart picked up only 25 points from the first 19 matches but have turned their form around brilliantly with a run of six wins and two draws.
They went ahead against Hamburg in the 20th minute when Hilbert finished first time from a Pavel Pardo corner and Piotr Trochowski failed to clear off the line.
Hamburg almost equalised when Ulreich tipped a powerful Nigel de Jong header over the bar. From the resulting corner De Jong headed over an open goal from two metres and somehow Stuttgart held on.
Defeat means Hamburg have taken five points from five games, a run that has helped put Bayern in complete command at the top.
Schalke, favourites to take second place, snatched the points when Altintop headed home after 52 minutes to break Rostock's stubborn resistance.
'We were patient, that was the important thing,' coach Mirko Slomka told reporters. 'It's nice to be back in second.'
Goals from Markus Rosenberg and Tim Borowski allowed Werder to triumph at Hertha.
Rosenberg stole in to convert a low cross from Clemens Fritz in the first minute and after Andre Lima had headed an equaliser, Borowski secured the points with a deft touch from Diego's through ball midway through the second half.
The match between Eintracht Frankfurt and Nuremberg was held up for 20 minutes in the first half when the referee ordered the players off because of fireworks being let off in the crowd.