Stuttgart - VfB Stuttgart ran out 4-2 winners in a barnstorming encounter at home to travelsick Hannover 96.

In an entertaining first-half, Martin Harnik and Vedad Ibisevic scored for Stuttgart, while Artur Sobiech and Salif Sane also both hit the net. Ibrahim Traore and Konstantin Rausch gave the hosts an unassailable lead after a dominant second-half display.

Eyes on Europe

Last season, both these sides were representing the Bundesliga in the UEFA Europa League, and that is their common objective for next season. A point would therefore have been of little help to either, and it was soon clear they both wanted all three.

The goals soon arrived, the first coming when a low cross from the right from Moritz Leitner set up the unmarked Harnik for an easy finish at the far post. Sobiech soon levelled for Hannover, after taking advantage of a mix-up between Daniel Schwaab and Ron-Robert Zieler.

Rausch seals win

The first turnaround was complete when Szabolcs Huszti's free-kick was met by Sane, who headed the ball past Sven Ulreich, taking the Stuttgart goalkeeper's fist in his face in the process. Hannover were still celebrating when they afforded too much room to Leitner down the right wing, and his cross was a perfect invitation for captain Ibisevic to dive in and head past Zieler.

Stuttgart regained the lead early in the second half when Traore powered in the fifth of the game, and former Hannover midfielder Rausch beat the offside trap to give the hosts a cushion, the points, and an advantage in the race for a place in Europe.

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