Hannover failed to steal a march on Bayern Munich in the race for third place in the Bundesliga as they were held to a goalless draw at Hamburg.
The visitors posed the greater threat throughout and were closer to the three points than their hosts as they chase third and a place in the qualifying rounds for the Champions League.
However, their potent strike force of Didier Ya Konan and Mohammed Abdellaoue drew a blank to leave Mirko Slomka's side with just a two-point advantage over fourth-placed Bayern, who are in action on Sunday.
Stuttgart scored three goals in 12 second-half minutes to move four points clear of the Bundesliga relegation zone with a 3-1 victory at Cologne.
Christian Trasch broke the deadlock in the 51st minute and Martin Harnik doubled the visitors' advantage two minutes later before Zdravko Kuzmanovic's 63rd-minute penalty made it 3-0.
Milivoje Novakovic pulled a goal back in the 69th minute but it was not enough for Cologne, who saw their eight-match winning home run ended.
Ralf Rangnick's unbeaten record as coach was maintained as Schalke picked up a point with a 1-1 draw away to Werder Bremen to keep both teams in the Bundesliga mid-table.
The hosts went ahead thanks to a goal from Sandro Wagner in the 59th minute, but Edu's header four minutes later earned the Royal Blues a point and maintained Rangnick's unbeaten record since taking over as coach last month.
The point is probably too little for the Royal Blues to still make it into Europe next season via the Bundesliga since they now trail fifth-placed Mainz by eight points with four games remaining.
Substitute Jan Polak scored in the 89th minute as Wolfsburg grabbed a crucial point in their fight against relegation with a 2-2 home draw against fellow strugglers St Pauli.
Mario Mandzukic gave Wolfsburg the lead after 39 minutes. St Pauli levelled through Deniz Naki 16 minutes into the second half and went ahead when Matthias Lehmann scored 16 minutes later before Polak rescued the hosts late on.
Wolfsburg, who have collected only three points in four matches under coach Felix Magath, remained in the relegation zone, a point ahead of St Pauli.
Roberto Firmino's first Bundesliga goal gave Hoffenheim a 1-0 home victory against Eintracht Frankfurt which keeps alive their slim hopes of European football next season.
The 19-year-old, who joined Hoffenheim at the beginning of 2011, scored the only goal of the game in the 78th minute.
Hoffenheim had collected just one victory in their last eight games but jumped to ninth place in the table as a result of this success - eight points from a Europa League spot.
Nurnberg remain alive in the running for European football next season after a hard-fought 2-0 victory at Kaiserslautern.
Christian Eigler gave Nurnberg the lead in the 34th minute and Robert Mak secured the win with a strike two minutes into stoppage time.
Nurnberg ended a three-game winless run to move to 46 points and lie sixth, two points from a Europa League spot.