Hannover ended a five-match losing run and put space between themselves and the relegation zone with a vital win over northern rivals Werder Bremen on Friday night.
Hannover 2-1 Werder Bremen
Goals: 1-0 Harnik (17’), 2-0 Klaus (42’), 2-1 Belfodil (74’)
The home side were quick out of the blocks in this Friday fixture and scored with the game’s first effort on goal as former Bremen man Martin Harnik flicked a ball at the front post past goalkeeper Jiri Pavlenka for his seventh goal of the season but his first in 2018. Visitors Werder had two big chances to bring themselves level though. First through Thomas Delaney, who failed to connect with a header, and second was Max Kruse on the follow-up, but he blasted over from 12 yards on his weaker right foot. Hannover, however, doubled their lead shortly before the break when Felix Klaus reacted quickest after Marvin Bakalorz’s lob over Pavlenka ricocheted back off the post to tap in his fourth of the campaign.
While Hannover looked to defend their lead and end their five-match losing run, Werder sought to keep their five-game unbeaten run going and pushed forward in the second half. Club captain Zlatko Junuzovic was thrown on at the break by coach Florian Kohfeldt, who this week signed a new long-term contract, and the visitors immediately looked a more potent side. However, despite a number of further efforts from Kruse and Delaney, Bremen could not find a way past Hannover goalkeeper Philipp Tschauner. That was until Ishak Belfodil got his head onto a low cross from the right by Delaney to nod past Tschauner off the underside of the crossbar with 15 minutes remaining. The Algeria international almost had a second moments later when he raced through on goal, but this time was denied by the goalkeeper. The late surge was not enough though as Hannover held on for three vital points to put space between themselves and the relegation battle.
- Hannover led by two goals at half-time for the first time this season.Harnik spent three years at Bremen, making 17 Bundesliga appearances, before joining VfB Stuttgart in summer 2009.He scored his first goal of 2018 in this game after bagging six before the winter break.It was the Austria international's 60th Bundesliga goal. Only Toni Polster and Wilhelm Huberts have more. Hannover had lost their last five in a row. No team in the Bundesliga this season has suffered six successive defeats.Bremen have failed to win any of their last seven visits to Hannover.
Watch: Delaney: "The first half was so bad"
Hannover: Tschauner (c) - Sorg, Sane, Elez (Schwegler 86'), Albornoz - Fossum, Bakalorz - Klaus (Sarenren Bazee 90+3'), Bebou (Karaman 90+2') - Harnik, Füllkrug
Unused subs: Esser, Korb, Ostrzolek, Maina
Absentees: Anton (thigh), Jonathas, Felipe (both muscular), Hübner (illness), Maier (foot), Prib (knee ligaments)
Coach: Andre Breitenreiter
Bremen: Pavlenka - Gebre Selassie, Veljkovic, Langkamp, Friedl - M. Eggestein (Rashica 82'), Bargfrede (J. Eggestein 88'), Delaney - Kainz (Junuzovic 46'), Kruse (c), Belfodil
Unused subs: Drobny, Caldirola, Bauer, Gondorf
Absentees: Moisander (suspended), Zetterer (wrist), Bartels (Achilles), Eilers (knee), Manneh, Johannsson (both ankle), Augustinsson (thigh)
Coach: Florian Kohfeldt