Marcelo gave the hosts the lead midway through the second half, but a resilient Paderborn replied with Srdjan Lakic's first goal for the club and Alban Meha, getting Andre Breitenreiter's men up and running in the new year and leaving Hannover still searching for their first win since the winter break.
Winter recruit Joao Pereira was handed his starting debut for Hannover, taking the place of Hiroki Sakai, who was demoted to the bench for the first time since April 2014, while Mario Vrancic - who started each of Paderborn's four league victories this season - was back in the visitors' starting XI for the first time in 2015.
There was a quick pace to the opening exchanges with Paderborn asking questions on the counterattack and Hannover responding with breaks of their own, Lars Stindl neatly nudging a Hiroshi Kiyotake ball through which the Japanese international was just unable to reach. Jimmy Briand then got a little closer to finishing another slick team move, but all he won was a corner that came to nothing.
The first shot of the game came at the other end with Meha's free-kick causing no concern to Ron-Robert Zieler. It was then Stindl's turn to supply Hannover's first attempt at goal, which was pushed onto the post by Paderborn keeper Lukas Kruse, but Joselu was adjudged to be in an offside position in the build-up.
Meha tried to bring an end to Paderborn's search for a goal, which had now passed the seven-hour mark, with another long-range effort, but there was no getting through at either end. Artur Sobiech was brought on at half time for the Reds, who played with two strikers after the break in an attempt to find a way of penetrating the Paderborn back line.
Kiyotake tried to breathe some life into the game with a mazy run which was thwarted by the last man before Hannover survived a close shave at the back. Süleyman Koc did everything right as he burst through and sent his shot past Zieler, but Miiko Albornoz made an extraordinary clearance off the line.
Moments later, Joselu's deep cross was met at the far post by Marcelo, who broke the deadlock from close range, breaking Paderborn fans' hearts just seconds after they were preparing to celebrate. The visiting faithful were up on their feet soon after, though, as Lakic rose to meet Florian Hartherz's cross and head Paderborn level, before Meha's thunderbolt free-kick flew past Zieler and earned Breitenreiter's side all three points.
Line-ups and statistics