Eintracht Frankfurt ended a run of eight matches without a win in their relegation six-pointer with Hannover 96 thanks to Änis Ben-Hatira's first goal for the club.
Eintracht Frankfurt 1-0 Hannover 96
Goals: 1-0 Ben-Hatira (33')
Perhaps indicative of their recent plights, the teams lined up in matching 4-5-1 formations, looking to stop goals as much as score them. Chances were, therefore, at a premium in the first half. The hosts were more aggressive in their attacking intent, however, and Stefan Reinartz saw a long-range volley blocked before Ben-Hatira got around the Hannover defence and hooked a dangerous ball in, but there was too much on it for Stefan Aigner. Eintracht took a deserved lead soon after, though, when Ben-Hatira squeezed home his first goal for the club from the tightest of angles.
Haris Seferovic had a gilt-edged chance to put the hosts further clear early in the second half, but he was unable to beat visiting goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler one-on-one. Die Roten's best chance fell to Japan international Hiroshi Kiyotake, who flashed his left-footed shot wide, before Ben-Hatira missed two good openings to double his tally and put the Eagles out of sight. The offside flag denied late goals from Seferovic and Hannover's Hugo Almeida as the contest ended 1-0.
Man of the match
Tunisian winger Ben-Hatira was given his first start since his winter transfer from Hertha BSC, and seized his opportunity. His 85 sprints (second only to Seferovic's 88) helped him get into dangerous positions, and he was rewarded with his first Bundesliga goal since March 2015.
A central midfielder in his pomp, Niko Kovac has tried to instil grit as much as wit since taking the reins at Eintracht Frankfurt. Die Adler covered 117.6 kilometres in last Saturday's 3-0 loss at Borussia Mönchengladbach, a season-high. They also outran Hannover (116.53 km to 112.39 km), but this time found an end product. There remain doubts as to whether Eintracht can prolong their four-year stay in the Bundesliga, but there were promising signs at the Commerzbank Arena.
- Frankfurt put an end to the longest winless run in the division, which stood at eight matches.This was only the second time in their previous seven home games against Hannover across all competitions that Eintracht had failed to score at least two goals.Hannover have lost 12 of their last 13 matches in the Bundesliga, and nine of their last ten games under former SV Werder Bremen mainstay Thomas Schaaf.Every Bundesliga club that has suffered 20 defeats after 27 games, as Hannover now have, has been relegated.
Frankfurt: Hradecky - Chandler, Zambrano, Russ (c), Djakpa - Stendera, Reinartz (Hasebe 62') - Aigner, Ben-Hatira (Kittel 87'), Huszti (Abraham 71') - Seferovic
Hannover: Zieler - Sakai, Milosevic, Schulz (c) (Anton 46'), Sorg - Gülselam, Yamaguchi (Saint-Maximin 69') - Karaman (Szalai 77'), Kiyotake, Prib - Almeida