STUTTGART, March 31 (Bundesliga) - Stuttgart took advantage of slip-ups by the two sides above them to close the gap on the Bundesliga pacesetters - and keep their slim title hopes alive.
Armin Veh's team moved within four points of the top of the table and two of second-placed Werder Bremen after goals by Marco Streller, Benjamin Lauth and Jeronimo Cacau gave them a 3-1 win over in-form Alemania Aachen.
Streller set the hosts on their way in the 29th minute and, although Moses Sichone restored parity for the visitors just before the hour mark, Lauth and Cacau struck in the final 15 minutes to put an end to Aachen's three-game winning streak and leave them hovering four points above the drop zone.
Despite coming into the game without a league win in four, Stuttgart started brightly and almost went ahead on 20 minutes when Fernando Meira headed just wide from Pavel Pardo's corner.
Thomas Hitzlsperger then went close with a trademark long-range effort which flew wide of the post before the home side finally made the pressure pay on 28 minutes, Streller rising above the crowd to head home a corner from the left by Pardo.
Aachen came out for the second half a different side.
Four minutes after the break, Vedad Ibisevic created space on the edge of the box, but could only drag his shot wide.
And on 59 minutes the visitors were level, Sichone heading Laurentius Reghecampf's free-kick past Timo Hildebrand.
But with his side's title chances seemingly slipping away, Veh introduced Lauth from the bench and the substitute made an immediate impact. Picking up the ball on the left on 75 minutes, he advanced towards the box before shooting into the far corner from the left of the area.
And as Aachen searched for an equaliser, Cacau put the result beyond doubt, running onto a through-ball from Alexander Farnerud and coolly slotting the third past Stephan Straub.