Hertha Berlin returned to the top of the Bundesliga table with a 2-1 win over lowly Borussia Moenchengladbach while lacklustre Hoffenheim dropped to third after a 0-0 draw against Borussia Dortmund on Saturday.
Hertha striker Andriy Voronin struck after 28 minutes against the run of play when Cicero's sharp through ball found the Ukrainian who chipped the ball over keeper Logan Bailly for his seventh goal of the season.
A minute before halftime Patrick Ebert beautifully laid the ball to Pal Dardai, who doubled the lead with a low drive before the visitors pulled one back with a penalty through Michael Bradley in the 69th.
The speedy Voronin, on loan from Liverpool, was a constant source of danger despite being a lone striker as attacking partner Marko Pantelic is still out injured.
Moenchengladbach, who were much improved in the second half, came close to equalising several times through veteran Oliver Neuville and talented Marko Marin but are now stuck at the bottom of the 18-team table on 16 points.
In the final minutes, Hertha failed to extend their lead when Bailly, outstanding throughout the match, twice denied Raffael and Valeri Domovchiyski.
Hertha, on 43 points, are two points ahead of Hoffenheim. Second-placed Hamburg SV host VfL Wolfsburg on Sunday, while champions Bayern Munich, in fourth place, travel to Werder Bremen.
In a scrappy encounter in Dortmund, newcomers Hoffenheim, who have now gone four matches without a win, failed to impress yet again in an error-strewn performance lacking spark and inspiration.
Dortmund were their usual selves, settling for their 12th draw in 22 league matches this season but looked the livelier side with Tamas Hajnal being the provider and Mohamed Zidan and Nelson Valdez playing further up front.
Even when Hoffenheim striker Chinedu Obasi came on for out-of-form Boubacar Sanogo, the visitors failed to replicate the form that had taken them to the top of the Bundesliga in past weeks.
Both teams ended the match with 10 men after Hoffenheim's Tobias Weis saw red for violent conduct and Dortmund's Sebastian Kehl was sent off for a second booking, both in the 77th minute.
Schalke 04 moved up to seventh with a 2-1 win at Eintracht Frankfurt while VfL Bochum won the relegation battle against Energie Cottbus 3-2 after twice falling behind before a Marc Pfertzel penalty 11 minutes from time snatched the three points.
Elsewhere, Bayer Leverkusen suffered a shock defeat away to Hannover 96, going down 1-0 to a 33rd-minute strike from Arnold Bruggink.