Die Schwaben lost yet again in the Bundesliga.Mirko Slomka's men extended their unbeaten streak in the Bundesliga to five games in a row tonight with a hard-fought victory over Stuttgart. The 96ers' most prolific hitman this season Didier Ya Konan once again made the difference with a strike in each half to earn the three points for Hannover despite Georg Niedermeier' goal midway through the second period.
Both teams lacked fluency in the opening half-an-hour and therefore there were no real chances in front of either goal for some times. Still, the hosts looked better on the ball and were even dominating possession by a small margin.
Ya Konan went close near the twenty-minute mark with a fine solo run, but was denied by Sven Ulreich. The Ivorian was involved again moments later when he teed it up Lars Stindl, but the midfielder blasted his shot wide of the left post.
Hannover captain Steve Cherundolo was taken off with a knee injury halfway through the first half, leaving squad with a problem at the back.
Emanuel Pogatetz was granted with a glorious opportunity in the 32nd minute when he headed over from inside the six-yard box under no pressure at all. Three minutes later, however, the hosts finally managed to break the deadlock with Ya Konan finding himself rather fortunately on the end of a deflected ball in the box and finishing calmly in the right corner.
Cacau nearly got Stuttgart back in the game seven minutes before half-time, but saw a header from point-blank range blocked by Manuel Schmiedebach. This proved to be the final moment of interest for this period as the two teams withdrew with Hannover having a tender lead.
The visitors stepped up their game after the break and started to throw bodies forward in search of an equalizer. Still, it was the 96ers who created the first clear-cut chance of the second period through Sergio Pinto, who was released in the box, but fell rather too easily to earn a penalty.
In the 64th minute Martin Harnik missed a good opportunity to draw the game level after being fed by Cacau, but put his shot in the side netting. Still, Stuttgart got the goal they deserved ten minutes later when Niedermeier capitalized on a horrible mistake by Florian Fromlowitz.
The hosts responded immediately and it was Ya Konan who completed his brace with a fine goal from the right side of the box two minutes later. Substitute Johan Audel had a chance to earn a point for Stuttgart six minutes from time, and Ya Konan, Konstantin Rausch, and substitute Mike Hanke could have scored a third for the hosts before the final whistle, but it was not to be and the game finished 3-1.
Following tonight's result Hannover are second in the league, while Stuttgart are third from bottom before the remaining game from this Bundesliga round. The 96ers' next league fixture is a visit to Nuernberg on the 18th December, while Die Schwaben host Bayern Munich a day latter.
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