Berlin, Dec 11: Borussia Moenchengladbach missed the chance to go provisionally top of the Bundesliga when promoted Augsburg won 1-0 on Saturday to climb off the bottom of the standings.
Jan-Ingwer Callsen-Bracker scored against his former side when goalkeeper Marc Andre ter Stegen was powerless to stop his deflected free kick in the 51st minute.
“Augsburg deservedly won, they were better. We have to accept that,” Moenchengladbach coach Lucien Favre said.
Lukas Podolski scored twice, helped set up another and hit the crossbar as Cologne won 4-0 in its 400th Bundesliga game at home to leave Freiburg in last spot.
Defender Timmy Chandler was sent off in Nuremberg's 2-0 defeat to Hoffenheim, Werder Bremen beat Wolfsburg 4-1 and Mainz drew 0-0 with Hamburg.
In the late game, Hannover and Bayer Leverkusen played to a hard-fought 0-0.
“I think we played a very good game,” Hannover coach Mirko Slomka said after his side's sixth league game without a win. “But up front we didn't have the effectiveness and the luck needed.”
Hannover goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler prevented the visitors from scoring an undeserved winner when he denied Michael Ballack's deflected free kick in injury time.
“We didn't want to risk too much,” Ballack said. “We had a tough week. You couldn't expect that we'd play them off the pitch”
Afterward, midfielder Jan Schlaudraff announced his contract extension keeping him at Hannover until 2015.
On Sunday, leader Bayern Munich is at Stuttgart and defending champion Borussia Dortmund hosts Kaiserslautern.
Raul Bobadilla produced a fine save from Augsburg ‘keeper Mohammed Amsif in the third minute, but Moenchengladbach failed to create much in the absence of rising star Marco Reus because of a broken toe.
Augsburg scored when Bobadilla deflected Callsen-Bracker's free kick from a central position.
“It's a great way to finish (the year at home) for our fans,” Augsburg coach Jos Luhukay said after beating his former side. “We thoroughly deserved to win. To get such support (despite) being last is fantastic.”
Podolski hit the crossbar in the second minute for Cologne. He then helped create the opening goal in the 20th, hitting a wonderful cross for Slowomir Peszko to head down for the onrushing Christian Clemens to score from four meters (yards).
Podolski scored after another quick break in the 61st, Peszko cutting the ball back for the Germany international to gracefully sweep it past goalkeeper Oliver Baumann.
Clemens, also a Cologne native, scored directly from a corner for his second goal five minutes later.
Podolski then emerged with the ball after four Freiburg players had failed to clear to score his 13th goal of the season in the 73rd.
“This is our best first half of the season, as of today,” said Podolski, who has been linked with moves to Schalke and Arsenal. “If we now cut out our losses, it looks pretty good.”
Wolfsburg's loss in Bremen increased the pressure on coach Felix Magath after the club's worst ever league start.
“You won't believe it (but) I'm happy that the away games are done for this year,” Magath said.
Diego Benaglio saved Claudio Pizarro's header in the 18th, but Sokratis Papastathopoulos was unmarked to volley in the rebound.
However, Pizarro scored before the interval when he took the ball past a Wolfsburg defender and Benaglio before firing into the unguarded net.
Markus Rosenberg put the issue beyond doubt in the 55th and Marko Arnautovic extended the margin in the 71st, when Pizarro displayed his class by springing the offside trap with his heel to play the Austrian through.
Marcel Schaefer scored a late consolation for Wolfsburg.
In Mainz, Thorsten Fink had goalkeeper Jaroslav Drobny to thank for maintaining his unbeaten start as Hamburg coach after seven league games.
“It wasn't an outstanding game,” Fink said. “My target with Hamburg this year was to get to the safety of mid table.”
Hamburg is 12th, and unbeaten in its last nine games in all competitions.
Nuremberg has won only once in its past 11 and is just two points above Freiburg.
Hoffenheim striker Vedad Ibisevic scored with a header from Sejad Salihovic's cross in the 39th, but Nuremberg players complained a free kick should have been awarded beforehand because Ibisevic appeared to catch Philipp Wollscheid with his arm.
The home side had further reason for complaint in the 43rd, when Chandler was somewhat unlucky to receive a straight red card for a poor challenge on Salihovic.
Ibisevic rubbed salt into the wound when he scored his second in the 56th, before Hoffenheim defender Marvin Compper was sent off in injury time.
“Hopes faded with the first goal, and especially with the red card,” Nuremberg coach Dieter Hecking said. “It was a deserved defeat that leaves a bad taste but you have to live with it.”