The 28-year-old scored his ninth league goal of the season to propel the Lions closer to the top, guiding his side to their fourth consecutive victory in the processBAYER LEVERKUSEN 1-0 NURNBERG
Bayer Leverkusen remain the only unbeaten side at home in the Bundesliga after a 1-0 win over Nurnberg at the BayArena.
Sami Hyypia's men started brightly and were denied by a strong pair of hands from Nurnberg goalkeeper Raphael Schafer who stopped Hajime Hosogai from handing the hosts an early lead.
Leverkusen kept the pressure up, and they were finally rewarded in the 38th minute as Stefan Kiessling found space to slot home from Andre Schurrle's pass, despite a hint of offside.
To their credit, Nurnberg did go in search of an equaliser, but they were unable to test Bernd Leno due to some wasteful shooting.
At the other end, Schafer had done well to keep the gap between the two sides to one goal, but it was the post that maintained the lead in the closing stages, denying the hosts' Simon Rolfes.
Due to the draw between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, Leverkusen now sit eight points adrift of the Bavarians in second position.
SCHALKE 1-1 GLADBACH
Schalke drew their second successive home game 1-1 as profligacy in front of goal almost condemned them to defeat against Borussia Monchengladbach at the Veltins Arena.
Chances were limited in the first half, and when they came the way of the Royal Blues, they were incapable of finishing: Lewis Holtby, Benedikt Howedes and Julian Draxler all saw efforts fly well over the bar.
Gladbach had hardly been inspiring themselves, but they were given a helping hand from the hosts when Joel Matip gave the ball away cheaply inside his own half, and Igor de Camargo was played in to poke home the opener.
More wasteful attempts followed but Schalke finally found the net in the 82nd minute as substitute Teemu Pukki's cross was diverted into the net by Draxler.
A draw means Huub Stevens' side fail to join Borussia Dortmund on 27 points, but remain in fourth. Gladbach, meanwhile, fall to 10th spot.
MAINZ 2-1 HANNOVER
Ten-man Mainz grabbed an impressive win as they overcame Hannover 2-1 at the Coface Arena.
Thomas Tuchel's team wasted no time in going ahead as Nicolai Muller added the finishing touch to Shawn Parker's shot which had initally been turned onto the post by Ron-Robert Zieler.
But the visitors were level just 18 minutes later as Lars Stindl's deflected strike was diverted into the goal by Christian Schulz.
The hosts' task was made all the more difficult shortly after the break as goalkeeper Christian Wetklo was shown a second yellow card. However, they remained resolute and even managed to steal all three points with a late winner from Adam Szalai.
Mainz subsequently move up to sixth position, while Hannover's slide down the table continues as they sit in 12th.
FORTUNA DUSSELDORF 4-0 EINTRACHT FRANKFURT
Eintracht Frankfurt continued a run of games without a win that now stretches to three as their 10 men were comprehensively beaten by Fortuna Dusseldorf at the Esprit Arena.
The game was delicately poised until Karim Matmour's 34th-minute red card left the visitors without a focal point in attack, and swung momentum the way of the hosts.
It took them just four minutes to capitalise on their numerical advantage as Stefan Reisinger bulldozed his way into the area before slotting past Kevin Trapp.
Oliver Fink added a second before the break, with an exceptional 20-yard strike and he then turned provider in the 58th minute, when his whipped cross from the right flank was bundled in by Nando Rafael.
The rout was completed five minutes from time as an awful attempt at a clearance from Bastian Oczipka was lashed home by Axel Bellinghausen.
Frankfurt subsequently slip down to fifth while their biggest victory of the season sees Dusseldorf rise up to 13th position.
GREUTHER FURTH 0-1 STUTTGART
Stuttgart escaped from the Trolli Arena with a narrow 1-0 win after being forced to play much of the second half against Greuther Furth with 10 men.
Greuther looked to secure their first home victory this season with some positive football, but neither Christian Nothe or Edgar Prib were able to get the better of Sven Ulreich in the opening 30 minutes.
Yet, Wolgang Hesl outshone his counterpart in the Furth goal, doing brilliantly to save a penalty from Vedad Ibisevic on the stroke of half-time, but unfortunately for him, Shinji Okazaki was on hand to head in the rebound.
There were signs of hope for the hosts in the second half as Bruno Labbadia's side were reduced to 10 following Serdar Tasci's dismissal, but they could not make the most of it.
Prib's 82nd-minute strike, which was deflected onto the post by Ulreich, proved to be the closest they would come to finding the net.
Furth drop to the foot of the table as Stuttgart rise to seventh, just outside the European places.
AUGSBURG 1-1 FREIBURG
Augsburg's winless run continued as they drew 1-1 with Freiburg at the SGL Arena.
It took the Bavarian outfit just nine minutes to go ahead as Tobias Werner latched onto Jan-Ingwer Callsen-Bracker's through-ball, before rounding the keeper and slotting in the opener.
However, the lead only lasted 20 minutes as Jonathan Schmid fired home after Mohamed Amsif had done well to keep the initial effort out.
The hosts looked more dangerous in the second half, but they lacked that cutting edge and were ultimately left disappointed as Oliver Baumann was equal to everything they threw at him.
Augsburg move up to 17th position and Freiburg drop into the bottom half in 11th.
HOFFENHEIM 1-4 WERDER BREMEN
Hoffenheim fell to their fourth straight defeat with a crushing 4-1 loss to Werder Bremen at the Rhein Neckar Arena.
Sebastian Prodl set the visitors on their way to victory when he looped a header home from Kevin de Bruyne's delivery. Marko Arnautovic doubled the advantage in the 29th minute, as he swept home from the on-loan Chelsea man's through-ball.
Sejad Salihovic gave the hosts some hope as he halved the deficit shortly after the restart, but Arnautovic restored the two-goal difference with an exquisitely-struck free kick.
Arnautovic then rounded off a brilliant afternoon, as he cut inside the defence and curled a shot past Koen Casteels into the top corner.
Hoffenheim stay in the relegation play-off position in 16th, while Bremen move into the top half in eighth place.
WOLFSBURG 1-1 HAMBURG
Wolfsburg made it three games at the VolksWagen Arena without loss as they came from behind to draw 1-1 with Hamburg.
Chances were at a premium during the early exchanges, but the deadlock was broken in the 26th minute when Maximilian Beister netted for the second consecutive game. HSV took the lead into the break but Simon Kjaer popped up with an equaliser 20 minutes from time to ensure the spoils were shared.
Wolfsburg hold on to 15th position while Hamburg now occupy ninth spot.