Bayern Munich trimmed Borussia Dortmund's lead at the top of the German league to two points on Saturday as the Bavarians enjoyed a 2-1 home win over Hanover.
After midfielder Toni Kroos put the hosts ahead at Munich's Allianz Arena with a well-taken first-half chip, Germany striker Mario Gomez extended his tally as the Bundesliga's top scorer with his 23rd goal in 26 matches.
He rolled his shot under Hanover goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler on 68 minutes to claim Bayern's second before Ivory Coast striker Didier Ya Konan pulled a goal back with a spectacular bicycle kick on 74 minutes.
Hanover, who face Atletico Madrid in the first-leg of their Europa League quarter-final on Thursday, could have rescued a point as ex-Manchester United striker Mame Diouf headed over the bar with time almost up.
"You can see why Hanover 96 are in the last eight of the Europa League and the top third of the league table," said Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes, whose team beat Moenchengladbach on penalties on Wednesday in the German Cup semi-final.
"They were well organised and not easy to play against. Overall, we deserved the win and I am very satisfied. We now have to just win our games and worry about ourselves. The team did well just two-and-a-half days after our cup win."
Third-placed Borussia Moechengladbach slipped further back in the title race when they threw away the lead to lose 2-1 at home to Hoffenheim, which leaves them six points behind Bayern, eight behind Dortmund.
Gladbach were cruising to victory after a first-half goal from Dortmund-bound midfielder Marco Reus seven minutes before half-time but Hoffenheim took the three points with two goals in as many second-half minutes.
Kaiserslautern coach Krassimir Balakov, who took over after Marco Kurz was sacked in midweek, had an unhappy start to his tenure as his team were beaten 2-0 at Freiburg to remain bottom of the league.
It was Kaiserslautern's 17th league game without a win and means they are now six points adrift at the bottom.
Hamburg's chairman has backed coach Thorsten Fink to keep them away from relegation despite the German league club's fourth consecutive defeat saw them slip into the bottom three.
"I'm still convinced that we have the right coaching staff," said Carl-Edgar Jarchow on Saturday after a meeting with Fink.
Source: AFP Global Edition