Hamburger SV moved into the automatic promotion places in the 2. Bundesliga despite conceding a stoppage time equaliser away to Greuther Furth.
VfB Stuttgart's 2-1 loss to Wehen Wiesbaden meant Dieter Hecking's team climbed to second place on goal difference.
After a cagey opening to the game, centre-half Timo Letschert had the visitors' first opening of the game but his blushes were spared by the linesman's flag after he dragged his volley across the face of goal.
Jairo Samperio then went close in the 20th minute after capitalising on a loose back pass to round the Furth goalkeeper Sascha Burchert but he could only find the side netting.
The hosts took their chance when it finally came as Havard Nielsen headed them into the lead in the 35th minute.
The Norwegian forward re-adjusted his body well to power the ball past Daniel Hauer Fernandes.
HSV were back on level terms just five minutes later, though, as league assist leader Tim Leibold dug out a cross which Joel Pohjanpalo headed past Burchert at the far post.
Die Rothosen needed just three minutes after the restart to go in front as a well worked counter attack ended with Jeremy Dudziak arrowing the ball into the far corner after being teed up by Aaron Hunt.
Pohjanpalo missed two huge opportunities to grab a third for his side as he was twice denied by the legs of Burchert, the second being the latter chance part of a fine double save.
Ultimately, the on-loan Finnish striker would rue these misses as his side let their lead slip in the fourth minute of time added on.
A Furth corner lead to goal mouth scramble which ended with Nielsen smashing the ball into the roof of the net for his second of the game.
This result leaves Hamburg still with just one away win in the league since August.
Takeaways from the match
Rusty HSV defending
Hamburg's failure to clear the ball from the crucial last minute corner from which they conceded was not the first time in the game their back line had struggled to alleviate danger.
Several players were guilty of sliced clearances before substitute Rick van Drongelen's soft clearance landed at the feet of Nielsen inside the HSV penalty area.
Taking your chances
The conversion rates of the two sides' strikers proved integral to deciding this match as Furth's Nielsen and HSV's Pohjanpalo enjoyed contrasting fortunes.
Whilst Pohjanpalo did get on the scoresheet in the first half, the man on loan from Bayer Leverkusen missed two guilt edge chances to put his team out of reach of their opponents.
In contrast, Nielsen had just two efforts on goal in the whole 90 minutes, finding the back of the net on both occasions.
Stand out player - Havard Nielsen
The former Fortuna Dusseldorf front man made the most of limited opportunities on Sunday afternoon to take his tally for the season to seven goals.
The 26-year-old Norwegian's first goal showed splendid movement as he adjusted his body to get on the end of Maximilian Wittek's cross.
He then showed calmness under pressure in stoppage time to control the ball in a crowded penalty area and lift the ball beyond the sprawling Hamburg keeper.