(CNN) -- Bayer Leverkusen claimed third place in the German Bundesliga with a 1-0 victory over Schalke on Saturday night that left last season's runners-up deep in relegation trouble.
Second-half substitute Sidney Sam netted the only goal in the 65th minute as Felix Magath's star-studded team remained winless at home this season, disappointing a 61,000 crowd.
Despite fielding former Real Madrid strikers Raul and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Schalke struggled to break down the visitors as the Dutchman twice headed against the woodwork.
The winning goal came on the counter-attack when the 22-year-old Sam raced clear to beat Germany's World Cup goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
The defeat left Schalke second from bottom ahead of Tuesday's Champions League trip to Israeli side Hapoel Tel Aviv. Magath's team have been in good form in Europe, and the former World Cup winner will need that to continue if he is to keep his job.
Leverkusen, who host Greek side Aris Thessaloniki in the second-tier Europa League on Thursday, moved to within six points of German leaders Mainz -- who host second-placed Borussia Dortmund on Sunday in their 10th game of the campaign.
Eintracht Frankfurt had earlier briefly claimed third place with a 3-1 win at promoted St. Pauli, who had striker Gerald Asamoah sent off for a second booking three minutes after halftime.
Greece striker Theofanis Gekas moved to the top of the Bundesliga scoring charts as a goal in each half put the 30-year-old on nine this season.
Carlos Zambrano put St. Pauli ahead in the fifth minute, but the Peruvian defender fouled Gekas to allow the Frankfurt forward to equalize three minutes before halftime.
Gekas fired through goalkeeper Pirmin Schwegler's legs to make it 2-1 in the 71st minute and Brazilian midfielder Caio added a late third.
Wolfsburg moved up to 12th place with a 2-0 win at struggling Stuttgart, who slipped back into the bottom three.
Captain Edin Dzeko and Simon Kjaer scored from corners in each half to give Steve McClaren's team a first victory since late September.
Danish defender Kjaer headed the opener in the sixth minute, with his effort hitting the crossbar and crossing the line before Dzeko made sure it stayed in the net.
Stuttgart defender Cristian Molinaro twice cleared off his line and Grafite hit the post before halftime, then Bosnia striker Dzeko made it 2-0 with his sixth goal this season with 14 minutes left with a header from another Diego corner.
Cologne climbed off the bottom and out of the relegation zone with a 3-2 win at home to Hamburg in coach Frank Schaefer's first game in charge.
Slovenia striker Milivoje Novakovic scored a hat-trick as Cologne came from 2-1 down, leveling in the 29th minute after second assist from Lukas Podolski and then netting the winner with six minutes to play.
Hamburg had scored through Croatia striker Mladen Petric and teenage South Korean debutant Heung-Min Son, while Paolo Guerrero hit the bar early in the second half.
Werder Bremen crashed to a 3-2 defeat at home to Nuremberg ahead of Tuesday's crunch Champions League clash with Dutch side Twente.
Bremen led in the fifth minute through Hugo Almeida, but a double from Ilkay Gundogan either side of a goal from Mehmet Ekici made Claudio Pizarro's late strike a mere consolation.
Bremen dropped to 11th, while the visitors climbed to ninth.
Kaiserslautern ended a run of five league defeats with a 3-0 home win against Borussia Monchengladbach, who slumped to bottom place.
Christian Tiffert, Adam Nemec and Srdjan Lakic scored in the final 18 minutes as promoted Kaiserslautern moved up to 14th.