Schalke cruised past Hamburg 3-1 in Gelsenkirchen to move within a point of third-placed Borussia Monchengladbach in the Bundesliga.
All four goals came in the first half, with Teemu Pukki giving Schalke the lead after five minutes and Christoph Metzelder making it 2-0 21 minutes later.
Netherlands international Klaas Jan Huntelaar converted a penalty shortly after the half-hour mark before Gojko Kacar pulled a goal back just before the break.
While Schalke have a Champions League place in their sights, Hamburg remain in the relegation dogfight, just four points above the bottom three.
Werder Bremen collected their first home victory of 2012 with an important 3-0 win over fellow Europa League hopefuls Hannover.
Claudio Pizarro opened the scoring in the 31st minute before Sebastian Prodl made it 2-0 four minutes after the break.
Markus Rosenberg sealed the win with the third in the 56th minute.
The win ended a two-game losing streak for Bremen and kept them four points ahead of their opponents in the race for European qualification.
Hannover have collected just one victory in their last five games, with their exertions in the Europa League appearing to be taking their toll.
The late game sees fourth placed Schalke looking to cement their Champions League place at home to Hamburg.