A stunning showing from Noah Joel Sarenren Bazee helped Hannover 96 to a hard-fought 3-2 win over 1. FC Heidenheim on Friday night. John Verhoek and a Waldemar Anton own-goal had put Heidenheim ahead on two separate occasions, but for Martin Harnik, Niclas Füllkrug and Sarenren Bazee sealed the win.
Following last weekend's eventful two-all draw with Fortuna Düsseldorf, Daniel Stendel had to do without the suspended Felipe and Felix Klaus. That allowed Salif Sané and Miiko Albornoz to return to the starting side.
As for Frank Schmidt and Heidenheim, he would made one change from the team that started in the two-nil win against FC St. Pauli. Ben Halloran replaced Denis Thomalla.
Level at the break
Heidenheim almost got off to the perfect start in the first minute, as a sleepy Hannover defence were caught out by a cute through ball from Marc Schnatterer. Halloran had the chance to prove Schmidt right early on, but instead hit the outside of the post as Verhoek stood wide open in the middle.
But back came Hannover with a vengeance as they aimed to take an early lead themselves. A superb delivery from Edgar Prib had left both Harnik and Sané with the chance to finish, yet Sané couldn't connect and Harnik only succeeded in flicking the ball over the bar of a very relieved Kevin Müller.
Hannover didn't let up and were the team in control of the game, forcing several chances to take the lead. However, the were kept out by the inspired form of Müller. However, his heroics would be halted towards the end of the first half as Sarenren Bazee's boot caught his neck and the league's clean-sheet leader was forced from the field of play.
Oliver Schnitzler's first action of the game was to see Verhoek open the scoring for his side. Matthias Wittek won a crucial header inside the Hannover half, which was then flicked on by Schnatterer. The Dutch forward would make sure his captain would earn yet another assist, as Verhoek slid the ball coolly past Philipp Tschauner.
Yet there would be a sting in the tail for the visitors, as right on half-time Hannover struck an equaliser. A hopeful ball to the back post was met by Sarenren Bazee, who managed to loop the ball over Schnitzler with a fine header and Harnik was able to take full advantage by nudging home the leveller.
Two goals in two minutes secures Hannover's win
The second half began as the first ended, with a headed chance for the hosts. Harnik almost gave his side the lead, although this time it went narrowly wide. However, Heidenheim would edge ahead themselves after Arne Feick's cross was punched into Anton's knee by Tschauner. There was nothing that either player could do.
Yet just nine minutes later, the equaliser would arrive. Füllkrug would be the latest Hannover player to benefit from Sarenren Bazee's delivery, which picked out the home-town favourite at the near post, and a glancing finish of high quality left Schnitzler snatching at thin air once more.
Then came the sucker punch. The hosts had momentum behind them and cut Heidenheim open, something that has rarely been the case this season. A lovely, flowing move allowed Kenan Karaman to burst into the penalty area and square for the incoming Sarenren Bazee to cap off the perfect individual performance.
Martin Harnik hit the post late on as Heidenheim pushed for an equaliser, although neither side would find a sixth goal. Hannover went two points behind Eintracht Braunschweig at the top of 2. Bundesliga as a result, while Heidenheim remained fourth.