Werder Bremen rediscovered their scoring touch on Sunday to beat Cologne 3-1 and get back into the race for European places.
Werder, surprisingly held to a goalless draw with Bochum last weekend, had no such problems in attack once Diego had put them ahead with a penalty in the 15th minute.
It was only Werder's fifth league win but it was enough to take them up to seventh place with 20 points from 13 games.
"It wasn't our best performance but it will give us a boost in confidence," goalkeeper Tim Wiese told Premiere TV.
Bayer Leverkusen lead the standings with 28 points after a 2-1 win over Schalke 04 on Saturday.
Hoffenheim trail them on goal difference following their 3-2 victory over VfL Wolfsburg, with Bayern Munich three points behind them in third after they were held 2-2 at Borussia Moenchengladbach.
Werder were runners-up to Bayern last season but this term they have been too inconsistent to get near the leading three.
They played brilliantly in a 5-2 win away to Bayern back in September and followed it up with a 5-4 victory over Hoffenheim but then managed just two points from their next four matches.
Last weekend's failure against relegation candidates Bochum let them in the bottom half of the table but they played far more like title challengers on Sunday.
Frank Baumann's run into the box prompted a clumsy challenge from Pierre Wome and gave Diego the chance to put them ahead from the spot.
They were on top from then on and doubled the lead with a terrific barging header from Naldo from a corner just before the break.
Milivoje Novakovic pulled one back early in the second half with a nice run and shot but Hugo Almeida restored the two-goal cushion with a perfectly struck half-volley a few minutes later.