Bayern Munich were made to wait for their fourth consecutive Bundesliga title as Borussia Monchengladbach earned a 1-1 draw at the Allianz Arena and Borussia Dortmund ran out 5-1 winners over Wolfsburg.
Thomas Muller, recalled by Pep Guardiola after being surprisingly left on the bench for Wednesday's 1-0 Champions League semi-final defeat at Atletico Madrid, smuggled home a sixth-minute opener for his 20th league goal of the season.
But Bayern, perhaps with an eye on their return with Atletico on Tuesday, failed to kill-off opponents in the hunt for Champions League play-off qualification, and Andre Hahn's goal 18 minutes from time edged Andre Schubert's men above Hertha Berlin and into fourth on goal difference.
The champions' lead now stands at five points with two games remaining after Dortmund's demolition job against Wolfsburg.
Shinji Kagawa and Adrian Ramos were on target inside the first 10 minutes to help lift a toxic atmosphere brought about by captain Mats Hummels' announcement that he wishes to join Bayern at the end of the season.
Wolfsburg were indebted to goalkeeper Diego Benaglio for preventing further damage before Marco Reus made it three with an hour played and Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang helped himself to a late brace.
Hertha slipped to fifth as Bayer Leverkusen made sure of third place with a 2-1 home win - Julian Brandt and Lars Bender on target before Vedad Ibisevic reduced the arrears midway through an eventful first half.
Schalke pulled ahead of Mainz into sixth with a 3-1 triumph at Hoffenheim, while their rivals for European qualification were held 0-0 by Hamburg.
Artur Sobiech cancelled out Eric Choupo-Moting's 11th-minute opener for Andre Breitenreiter's men but Klass Jan-Huntelaar restored the advantage on the stroke of half-time and substitute Alessandro Schopf made sure of the points 10 minutes from time.
Eintracht Frankfurt climbed out of the bottom two by winning 2-1 at fellow strugglers Darmstadt, who would have ruled out the prospect of a bottom-two finish with victory.
Hoffenheim further eased their own relegation fears in beating Ingolstadt by the same scoreline - a fifth win in seven outings for Julian Nagelsmann's side.
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