Super Schalke claim victory
A review of the weekend's action in the German Bundesliga.
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Schalke returned from the winter break with a bang as they claimed a 3-0 Bundesliga win at Hamburg.
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar opened the scoring in the 34th minute before two goals in three minutes early in the second half from Jefferson Farfan and Max Meyer finished the hosts off.
The win got the Royal Blues right back in the race for the top four, leaving them in fifth place, two points off Borussia Monchengladbach in fourth.
Eintracht Braunschweig held Werder Bremen to a goalless draw as the Bundesliga's bottom side claimed an important away point in the fight for survival.
Braunschweig remain bottom of the pile on just 12 points, but it was a solid way to return from the winter break.
On Saturday, a late Felix Klaus goal saw Freiburg inflict a 3-2 defeat on Bayer Leverkusen and deny them the chance to close the gap on leaders Bayern Munch.
Lars Bender gave the visitors the lead for the first time in the fourth minute, but Admir Mehmedi levelled for the hosts.
Simon Rolfes put Leverkusen back in front 10 minutes before half-time before Jonathan Schmid equalised shortly after the interval.
Both sides pushed for a winner and Freiburg found it, with Klaus netting in the last minute of the game to earn the Baden-Wurttemberg side three much-needed points which lifts them out of the bottom three.
Leverkusen, however, lie 10 points off top spot despite being the nearest challenger to Bayern.
Borussia Dortmund moved up to third in the standings but it was hardly an afternoon to celebrate as they recorded a 2-2 draw at home against Augsburg.
Dortmund twice went ahead on goals by Sven Bender in the sixth minute and Nuri Sahin after 66 minute, but Bender scored an own goal in the 56th minute and Ji Dong Won equalised in the 72nd minute for the visitors.
Nurnberg coach Gertjan Verbeek can reach for the razor after his side picked up their first win of the season in style, downing Hoffenheim 4-0 at the Frankenstadion.
The Dutch coach had vowed not to shave again until Nurnberg won a game, and his three-month wait was ended with Josip Drmic grabbing a brace and both Timothy Chandler and Daniel Ginczek on target for the Bavarians.
Hannover started the new year with a victory under new coach Tayfun Korkut as Leonardo Bittencourt scored twice in a 3-1 win at Wolfsburg.
The visitors went ahead after 28 minutes through Artjoms Rudnevs, with Ivica Olic equalising at the 35-minute mark. But Bittencourt struck in the 50th and 72nd minutes to give Hannover the victory.
Substitute Benedikt Saller scored a late winner as Mainz came from behind to edge out Stuttgart 2-1 at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.
The home side went ahead after 11 minutes through Mohammed Abdellaoue, but Shinji Okazaki equalised against his former team before Saller settled the contest three minutes from time.
An Alexander Meier goal 10 minutes before half-time ensured Eintracht Frankfurt gained revenge for a 6-1 defeat to Hertha Berlin on the opening day of the season by beating the side from the capital 1-0.
Bayern Munich began 2014 as strongly they ended 2013, with a routine 2-0 win at Borussia Monchengladbach on Friday.
The visitors did not have things all their own way, but goals from Mario Gotze and Thomas Muller earned them a 15th win in 17 games this season.
Gladbach put up a brave fight after falling behind in only the seventh minute, hitting the post through Patrick Herrmann and testing goalkeeper Manuel Neuer several times, but an efficient and effective Bayern appear unstoppable as they look to secure a second successive Bundesliga title.