Schalke 04 recovered from their midweek UEFA Cup defeat by Twente Enschede to overcome Hertha Berlin 1-0 to climb to sixth in the Bundesliga on Saturday.
Surprise packages Hoffenheim still lead the table with 34 points from 16 games despite a 2-1 defeat at Bayern Munich on Friday.
Bayern have the same points but are second on goal difference while Hertha's defeat dropped them to fourth on 30 points.
Schalke were in desperate need of a win after losing five of their last six matches and with the management pledging changes during the winter break.
Gerald Asamoah struck the only goal in the 65th minute when he headed a deep Jefferson Farfan cross into an unguarded net after Hertha keeper Jaroslav Drobny failed to get his hands on the ball.
"There had to be a reaction from us after all the games without a point," Schalke midfielder Jermaine Jones told the club's website (www.schalke04.de).
"It's a start. Next week we have to be courageous when we play Hoffenheim. We have to stick together."
Asamoah said: "This was an extremely important victory for us. We were well aware we had not played well the past few weeks."
Visiting Hertha, who also lost in the UEFA Cup to Galatasaray in midweek, never really threatened as Kevin Kuranyi and Halil Altintop wasted several chances to increase Schalke's advantage.
Bayer Leverkusen moved up to third on 31 points with a 3-1 triumph at Borussia Moenchengladbach, returning to winning ways after last week's defeat by Bayern.
Stefan Kiessling scored twice in the first half and set up Patrick Helmes for his 12th league goal of the season before bottom club Moenchengladbach pulled one back through Tony Jantschke in the 61st.
VfB Stuttgart won 3-0 at Energie Cottbus, with Roberto Hilbert on target after only four minutes.
Jan Simak and Sami Khedira added two more goals in the second half as Stuttgart chalked up their second consecutive win under new coach Markus Babbel.
Werder Bremen's rollercoaster season continued when they lost 1-0 at lowly Karlsruhe to slip to ninth. The away team also had striker Claudio Pizarro sent off in the last minute.
Eintracht Frankfurt crushed relegation-threatened VfL Bochum 4-0 after the visitors had Daniel Fernandes dismissed in the fifth minute.
Arminia Bielefeld and Borussia Dortmund shared a 0-0 draw.
On Sunday, Cologne host Hamburg SV and VfL Wolfsburg entertain Hanover 96 (both 1600 GMT).