Just days after dismantling Bayern Munich in a 3-1 victory, Hannover 96 were shocked by FC Cologne at the RheinEnergieStadion, losing 4-0. Hannover's starting goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler had to come off on 52 minutes due to an injury after conceding Petit's opener late in the first half. His replacement, Florian Fromlowitz, fared much worse in his time on the pitch, conceding three goals in the final half-hour, including a brace to Milivoje Novakovic. Defeat for Hannover means that Bayern Munich can close the gap back to two points, while Cologne's victory lifts them ahead of Schalke 04 and into 10th place, seven points clear of the relegation zone.
However, Bayern will have to beat Hamburg SV on Saturday to close the gap to two points, a result that is far from assured given the Bavarians' form and their recent record against HSV; FCB have won just once in their last eight matches with Hamburg. Elsewhere, Borussia Dortmund will try to move yet closer to Bayern's points and wins records against TSG Hoffenheim, Mainz 05 face Bayer Leverkusen in a battle for European qualification, and Werder Bremen host Borussia Mönchengladbach and VfB Stuttgart visit St. Pauli in a pair of relegation six-pointers.
SB Nation Soccer's Ben Schneider will be updating this space throughout the weekend, keeping you informed on the race for the Bundesliga's Champions League and Europa spots.