Munich - Hannover 96 tore up the form book for their maiden away victory of the campaign against high-flying VfL Wolfsburg, while 1. FC Nürnberg picked up their first win of the season against 1899 Hoffenheim. Elsewhere, 1. FSV Mainz 05 came out on top in the battle for mid-table supremacy against VfB Stuttgart.
VfL Wolfsburg 1-3 Hannover 96
bundesliga.com rounds up the best of the Saturday afternoon action…
Hannover 96 registered their first away win of the current campaign thanks to a 3-1 victory at Lower Saxony rivals VfL Wolfsburg.
Having enjoyed their best-ever first half of a season before the winter break, Wolfsburg started confidently, continuously posing a threat as they created all the early pressure. Diego was at the heart of their most promising moments on Kevin De Bruyne's VfL debut, and the Brazilian playmaker came close to breaking the deadlock, forcing Ron-Robert Zieler to produce a save at full-stretch.
Hannover, looking to get the better of their hosts on the break, caught them cold shortly before the half-hour mark, however, when Mame Diouf's flick on freed Artjoms Rudnevs, who coolly clipped the ball beyond Diego Benaglio to open his account in his first appearance for the club since joining from Hamburger SV in the winter. Wolfsburg didn't take long to respond though, Ivica Olic slotting in from close range after Zieler was unable to hold a powerful effort from Maximilian Arnold.
Shortly after the restart, Szabolcs Huszti gave Wolfsburg an early warning with a beautifully struck free-kick, before Leonardo Bittencourt did better only minutes later, leaving Benaglio no chance from inside the box. With Wolfsburg throwing bodies forward in search for an equaliser, there was space aplenty for Hannover to exploit. They duly accepted the invitation, extending their lead 18 minutes from time as Bittencourt bagged his brace by smashing a left-footed effort into the back of the net from a tight angle to put the game to bed.
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1. FC Nürnberg 4-0 1899 Hoffenheim
A brace by Josip Drmic as well as goals from Timothy Chandler and Daniel Ginczek helped 1. FC Nürnberg to their first win of the season against 1899 Hoffenheim.
Hoping to bounce back from their Matchday 17 defeat at cellar-dwellers Eintracht Braunschweig, Hoffenheim were keen to set the tone in the early stages, dominating possession and carving out several half-chances. Fabian Johnson came close to handing 1899 the lead when the left-back swerved the ball just wide from the edge of the box, only minutes before Chandler did better at the other end of the pitch, leaving Keon Casteels no chance with a deflected effort from distance.
Drmic at the double
Boosted by their 1-0 lead, Nürnberg now made it abundantly clear they were there to register their first win of the campaign. Drmic looked particularly keen to add to his goal tally, as the Swiss forward helped der Club double their lead after 40 minutes, benefitting from an error in the Hoffenheim defence to poke home from close range.
The hosts maintained their pressure after the restart, which soon resulted in a third goal when Ginczek had only Casteels to beat from Mike Frantz's skilful through-ball. The home side kept up the pressure as the game progressed, and their dominance took a further toll 20 minutes from time, Drmic controlling a pin-point cross from Hiroshi Kiyotake with his chest before volleying the ball into the back of net for his eighth goal of the season to all but seal a deserved three points for Nürnberg.
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VfB Stuttgart 1-2 1 FSV Mainz 05
1. FSV Mainz 05 returned home with all three points from an entertaining mid-table clash at the Mercedes-Benz Arena after scoring late to collect their eighth win of the current campaign.
The hosts went in front through Mohammed Abdellaoue, who was in the starting XI for the first time since Matchday 3. After Mainz failed to clear their lines from a Stuttgart attack, the Norwegian forward prodded home from close range when Vedad Ibisevic's point-blank diving header had been saved by Loris Karius.
Stuttgart had comfortably held their visitors at bay for most of the first half, but Shinji Okazaki's equaliser just before the break - the result of a defensive mix-up - gave a hint of the fighting spirit in the Mainz camp. That determination came to the fore again shortly before the final whistle, when Benedikt Saller finished from a tight angle following Joo-Ho Park's superb ball over the top.
New signing Ja-Cheol Koo came on as a second-half substitute for the guests, but struggled to make an impact on the game. However, it mattered little as Mainz now move onto 27 points, eight ahead of Stuttgart.
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