Braunschweig - Eintracht Braunschweig moved to within a point of 17th-placed 1. FC Nürnberg after outplaying rivals Hannover 96 to win 3-0 in the Lower Saxony derby.
The tone was set for a home win when Domi Kumbela and Havard Nielsen grabbed first-half goals for the Lions, with the Reds proving unable to claw back the deficit after an inept display against their well-organised hosts. A red card shown to Andre Hoffmann and a late strike from Jan Hochscheidt finished off a demoralised Hannover team, who have now lost four league games in a row and slip ever closer to the Bundesliga relegation zone.
The two sides had come into this second local derby of the season at opposite ends of the form table. Hannover's defeat to Bremen on Matchday 28 was their third straight reverse in the league, while Braunschweig had been beaten just once in their previous five matches, and the opening stages clearly illustrated the respective levels of confidence in each camp. The hosts were on top from the first minute and Kumbela put them in front inside ten minutes, tapping in after Ron-Robert Zieler had fumbled a cross.
It was the 29-year-old’s ninth of the season and sent the partisan crowd into raptures at the Eintracht-Stadion, but things were to get better for Torsten Lieberknecht’s men just moments later. After Damir Vrancic steered an effort just past the post, Nielsen doubled the lead in style by latching on to a long ball and volleying left-footed into the far corner.
Hoffmann sees red
Hannover were shell-shocked, with their midfielders crowded out in possession and their front two starved of service. Leonardo Bittencourt squeezed in a cross for Artjoms Rudnevs at the near post, but the Latvian’s effort was deflected wide. Christian Schulz then headed over, before Didier Ya Konan missed another opportunity to cap a miserable half for the Reds.
Coach Tayfun Korkut threw on Jan Schlaudraff in place of Rudnevs for the second half, and Hannover momentarily seemed to have a grip on proceedings, with Frantisek Rajtoral volleying a Bittencourt cross into the side netting. Their task was made all the more difficult just after the hour-mark, however, when Hoffmann petulantly kicked out at Mirko Boland off the ball and subsequently received a straight red card.
Jan on the spot
Spaces then began to present themselves for a Lions side hungry to finish off their opponents, and Nielsen curled wide when a pass to Hochscheidt might have been the better option. Szabolcs Huszti drove an effort against the base of the post for Hannover, but Stindl’s wasteful free-kick after a lung-bursting run from Bittencourt rather summed up the afternoon for the visitors, who looked defeated well before the third goal.
Substitute Karim Bellarabi was rightly denied it by the offside flag, but the home fans were given one last reason to cheer when Hochscheidt tapped in to make it 3-0 and seal an impressive victory, the final whistle coming moments later to put Hannover and their travelling fans out of their misery.
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