RECAP: GERMAN WEEKEND ACTION
Jermaine Jones and Fabian Johnson were victorious for Schalke and Hoffenheim respectively, while Timothy Chandler and Nuremberg fell.
Schalke 4 - 1 Hamburg
Jermaine Jones and Schalke overcame an early goal to dismantle Hamburg and take a huge step towards next year's Champions League.
Jones returned to the starting lineup for Schalke after picking up an injury last month; he put in 80 minutes of action.
Things got off to a bad start for Schalke as the guests from Gemany's second city struck in the fifth minute thanks to Marcel Jansen, who brushed aside Roman Neustädter to head home Rafael van der Vaart's corner.
Undeterred, Schalke pulled level four minutes later with goal-getter Klaas Jan Huntelaar setting up Michel Bastos, who connected on a left-footed shot to beat Rene Adler in the Hamburg goal.
Huntelaar then scored his first of three in the 20th minute setting up the initial move with an overhead flick to Julian Draxler. The young German drove to the touchline, before centering for the Dutchman just a yard out.
It was 3-1 in the 57th minute and it was Huntelaar again. This time he buried a glancing header from eight yards out.
Huntelaar then completed his hat-trick in the 65th minute, heading home a rebound off of a Draxler shot.
With the win, Schalke remains in fourth place and is three up on Frankfurt with three to play.
Up next for Jones and company is a Friday road date versus Mönchengladbach.
1899 Hoffenheim 2 - 1 FC Nürnberg
Fabian Johnson and Timothy Chandler both featured for Hoffenheim and Nuremberg respectively with the former getting the better of the latter to remain three points out in their fight for survival.
Both Johnson and Chandler put in full shifts, while fellow American Daniel Williams remained on the outside looking in after not being named to Markus Gisdol's bench yet again.
Hoffenheim grabbed the lead in the 11th minute and Johnson picked up an assist, nutmegging his marker with his cross that found Tobias Weis alone in front of goal.
Sehad Salihovic made it two for Hoffenheim in the 19th minute, sneaking past defender Hanno Balitsch to head home Kevin Volland's cross from the right.
After dominating the match in its entirety, Nuremberg was gifted a lifeline in the 58th minute as Hoffenheim keeper Koen Casteels only got the man in the box on a corner. Timmy Simmons buried the ensuing penalty to make it 2-1.
Hoffenheim, however, held on to pick up three valuable points.
Up next for Hoffenheim is a road date versus fellow strugglers Werder Bremen on Saturday.
Sankt Pauli 2 - 3 Hertha Berlin
Jospeh Gyau saw some second-half minutes for Sankt Pauli versus Berlin, who came back to score a dramatic winner on Sunday.
Gyau came on in the 72nd minute for Lennart Thy.
The newly promoted Berlin got on the board first with Sami Allagui tapping home into an empty net after being set up by fellow striker Adrian Ramos in the 23rd minute.
Thy then drew the home team level in the 66th minute as the young German combined with Fin Bartels before nutmegging keeper Thomas Kraft.
Daniel Ginzek sent the home crowd into ecstasy in the 85th minute with the presumed winner converting a questionable penalty decision.
Berlin, however, had other ideas and Brazilian midfielder struck on a thunderous shot from the edge of the box in the 88th minute, before substitute Sandro Wagner pushed home a cross in the 90th minute.
Pauli remains in 13th place with 36 points, five above the drop zone. Up next is a Sunday date versus Duisburg.
Rot-Weiß Erfurt 1 - 1 Preußen Münster
Matt Taylor's fifteenth goal of the season helped Munster muster a point to remain on course for promotion to league two.
Taylor put in a full 90 minutes of action for Munster head coach Pavel Dotchev.
Munster fell behind in the 22nd minute as Aykut Öztürk was manhandled in the box but two Munster defenders setting up a spot kick. Nils Pfingsten-Reddig stepped up and converted to give Erfurt the lead.
Taylor then knotted things up in the 40th minute as the American pounced on Marco Engelhardt's error in the box to convert from close range.
The point gives Munster 69 on the season, two ahead of fourth-place Osnabrück. Taylor and Munster are back in action versus Stuttgart Kickers on Saturday.
Kickers Offenbach 0 - 2 Darmstadt
Preston Zimmerman scored once as Darmstadt won a must-win game to temporarily move out fo the drop zone.
Zimmerman put in a full shift of work in the Darmstadt attack.
Zimmerman pounced on a massive blunder by Offenbach keeper Robert Wulnikowski to put Darmstadt up in the 36th minute.
Darmstadt then had to wait until the 82nd minute to put the game away and did so through a Marcus Steegmann goal, who tapped home a feed from Uwe Hesse.
Darmstadt takes on league leaders KSC on Sunday in another must-win match.
Steve Cherundolo did not make it off the bench in Hannover's 3-2 victory over Fürth on Friday.
Bobby Wood came on late in 1860 Munich's 1-1 tie versus Cologne on Sunday.