Hannover - Sebastian Prödl's last-minute winner earned Bremen a priceless 2-1 win at Hannover 96 to take another step towards Bundesliga safety in Matchday 28's final encounter.
Szabolcs Huszti put the home side in front from a free-kick against the run of play late on in the first half, but Franco Di Santo levelled for Bremen just shy of the hour mark and Prödl earned the visitors all three points against their northern rivals with the winner in the final minute of regulation time. The result takes Werder up to twelfth place on 32 points – three more than Hannover, who remain just five clear of the relegation play-off place.
After a sluggish opening phase at the HDI Arena, Bremen carved out the first clear opportunity of the contest in the 13th minute when Clemens Fritz curled in a shot which had Ron-Robert Zieler at full stretch to touch round the post. That was the start of a busy spell for the home keeper, who in the following minutes had to punch away a fierce volley from Philipp Bargfrede and get a leg in the way of an angled effort from Eljero Elia.
Before the half-hour mark, the visitors had already had as many attempts on goal – six – as they had managed over the entire course of Tuesday's 3-1 home loss to Wolfsburg. The game remained scoreless, however, and Hannover began to show signs of belatedly coming to life themselves. On 31 minutes, skipper Lars Stindl fired a fine effort inches wide of the post. With the hosts palpably upping the tempo, Bargfrede clattered into Stindl outside the box on the right a few minutes before half time, conceding what would prove a costly free-kick. Huszti drilled it through the Bremen wall and into the corner of the net, with keeper Raphael Wolf scrambling in vein to prevent the Hungarian playmaker notching his eighth goal of the campaign.
Somewhat unfortunate to find themselves behind at the interval, Robin Dutt's men set about the task of repairing the damage after the restart and twelve minutes in, they hauled themselves back on level terms. A good move started by Zlatko Junozovic and continued by Aaron Hunt ended with Eljero Elia chipping the ball into the path of Franco Di Santo, who made best use of his first sniff of goal, clinically dispatching the ball past Zieler.
The game was really starting to open up and Leon Andreasen squeezed in a near-post shot which Wolf managed to gather at the second attempt. Di Santo then passed up a good chance to put Bremen in front on the break with just over 20 minutes remaining, before Wolf was temporarily winded after catching a powerful shot from Andreasen high on the chest. Another dangerous Werder counter-attack was foiled by a combination of Zieler and Stindl as the contest continued to swing from end to end. Zieler then got down in the nick of time to palm a curling goal-bound effort from Junuzovic round the post for a corner. The Austrian midfielder swung the set-piece in to the near post where Luca Caldirola flicked the ball on for Prödl, who steamed in to head home from close range and seal a very welcome victory.
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