Bundesliga wrap: Bremen, Schalke back on track
Werder Bremen collected their first victory at home this year with a comprehensive 3-0 win over nearest rivals Hannover in the Bundesliga.
The win moves Bremen within a point of fifth-placed Schalke and four points clear of Hannover in the final Europa League spot.
Claudio Pizarro opened the scoring for the hosts, converting Mehmet Ekicki's free-kick after Hannover had gone close on 30 minutes.
Sebastian Prodl made a successful return after two months out with facial injuries and headed home another free-kick from Ekicki for Bremen's second in the 49th minute.
Markus Rosenberg had a goal disallowed before half-time but eventually got on the score sheet when he prodded in Bremen's third from Pizarro's pass.
Elsewhere, Schalke consolidated fourth position with a comfortable 3-1 win at home to Hamburg.
Teemu Pukki's header in the fifth minute gave Schalke the perfect start before goals from Christoph Metzelder (26) and leading scorer Klaas-Jan Huntenlaar, from the penalty spot, effectively snuffed out Hamburg's chances before half-time.
Dutchman Huntenlaar stepped up to smash home his 34th goal in all competitions this season following Heiko Westermann's foul in the box.
The three points ends a run of two defeats for Schalke and extends their lead over fifth-placed Bayer Leverkusen to seven points.