Borussia Dortmund took another step towards the Bundesliga title after comfortably beating St Pauli 2-0 to extend their lead at the top of the table to 13 points, though Bayer Leverkusen will have the chance to close the gap on Sunday.
Jurgen Klopp's side had drawn their previous two games against Schalke and Kaiserslauten but returned to winning ways against the Pirates.
Lucas Barrios netted his tenth league goal of the season to open the scoring before Ralph Gunesch put through his own net to double Dortmund's lead.
The Westphalians could, and probably should, have won by a more comfortable margin but missed several chances as St Pauli crashed to their first defeat of 2011 without showing much resistance.
Bayern Munich moved up to second in the Bundesliga thanks to an impressive 3-1 win over Mainz at the Bruchweg Stadion. Goals from Bastian Schweinsteiger and Thomas Muller put the Bavarians on the way to victory and Mario Gomez added a third with ten mintues to go.
Sami Allagui scored a consolation for Mainz, but Bayern held on without any problems for their second straight win.
Jose Paolo Guerrero scored twice as Hamburg bounced back from their disappointing loss against St Pauli to hand rivals Werder Bremen a 4-0 thrashing.
Mladen Petric opened the scoring for Hamburg after 42 minutes. Guerrero struck in the 64th and 79th minutes before Anis Ben-Hatira joined in on the scoring in the 87th minute.
Hamburg had lost in midweek to their city rivals St Pauli but hit back to climb a place to seventh in the Bundesliga, while Bremen remain 14th, too close to the relegation zone for comfort after five games without a win.
Jan Schlaudraff scored twice as Hannover boosted their prospects of earning Champions League qualification with a convincing 3-0 home victory over Kaiserslautern.
Schlaudraff gave Hannover the lead in the 17th minute and Mohammed Abdellaoue made it 2-0 in the 45th minute. Schlaudraff struck again in the 57th minute.
Hannover had collected just one win and scored two goals in the previous four games but victory moved them to 41 points for third place.
Relegation-threatened Kaiserslautern have earned just two points in a six-game winless run and remain in 16th place.
Cologne fought back to earn a 1-1 draw at Hoffenheim and a crucial point in their fight to avoid relegation. Cologne striker Milivoje Novakovic gave Hoffenheim the lead with an own goal in the 48th minute but Youssef Mohamad equalised for the visitors in the 69th minute.
Cologne have collected three victories and two draws in their first six matches of 2011 to climb to 13th place, three points from the relegation zone, while Hoffenheim stand ninth.
Papiss Demba Cisse's goal brought Freiburg back to winning ways as they came back to win at home against Wolfsburg.
Wolfsburg took the lead through Patrick Helmes in the 28th minute before Stefan Reisinger made it 1-1 after 43 minutes. And Cisse scored his 16th goal of the season in the 70th minute to win the game. Freiburg had collected just one win in their last six games but jumped to 37 points for sixth place.