FRANKFURT, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Hamburg SV slipped to a 2-1 defeat away to Nuremberg on Saturday to leave champions Bayern Munich nine points clear at the top of the Bundesliga.
Hamburg took the lead with a fortunate own goal from Andreas Wolf midway through the second half but two goals in seven minutes from Ivan Saenko and Stefan Kiessling gave relegation candidates Nuremberg a surprise victory.
The result handed Bayern extra reason to celebrate after their 3-1 win away to Borussia Moenchengladbach in the first match back after the mid-season break on Friday.
Bayern have 47 points from 18 games after two goals from Roy Makaay and one from Michael Ballack gave them a convincing win. Hamburg remain second on 38.
Werder Bremen, in third place on 36, can climb above Hamburg if they win away to Arminia Bielefeld on Sunday.
Schalke 04, in fourth place on 31 points, are also in action on Sunday away to bottom club Kaiserslautern.
Hamburg looked Bayern's most credible challengers over the first half of the season but they were a long way from their assured best in their first competitive match of 2006.
Brazilian striker Ailton, signed on loan from Besiktas earlier this week, did little to lift the northerners in a quiet debut.
Naohiro Takahara forced a smart save from Nuremberg keeper Raphael Schaefer in the 24th minute and Stefan Beinlich went close with a long-range effort but there was little else of not from Hamburg before the opening goal.
There appeared to be little danger when Petr Trochowski broke down the right and sent in a hard low cross, aimed at no one in particular, but Wolf mistimed his clearance and sent the ball spinning past his own keeper.
Nuremberg had a spot of luck of their own as they grabbed the equaliser three minutes later, with Saenko's shot from outside the box taking a big deflection on its way in.
Nuremberg grew in confidence and were soon ahead. Markus Schroth lost the ball on the edge of the area under challenge from two Hamburg defenders but Kiessling was on hand to collect and blast past Stefan Waechter.
Hertha Berlin and VfB Stuttgart, in fifth and sixth respectively, both lost further ground.
Hertha needed a last-minute header from Dick van Burik to snatch a 1-1 draw at home to Hanover 96.
Giovanni Trapattoni's Stuttgart lost 1-0 at home to MSV Duisburg to an outstanding goal from Marco Caligiuri, who moved from Stuttgart on a long-term loan deal over the break.
Bayer Leverkusen beat Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1, with goalkeeper Hans-Joerg Butt stroking in the winning penalty in the 74th minute.