1-0, Klaus 40'.
Hannover 96 1-0 VfB Stuttgart: Klaus strike sees Hannover, Stuttgart within a point of promotion
Image credit: Bundesliga.de

Hannover 96 1-0 VfB Stuttgart: Klaus strike sees Hannover, Stuttgart within a point of promotion

Which team will be top come next week?

Jonathan Walsh

Felix Klaus superb solo goal before the break helped Hannover 96 to a 1-0 win over VfB Stuttgart, with both sides now likely to go up automatically.

Team news

Both Hannover and Stuttgart remained unchanged from their wins the previous weekend, as André Breitenreiter and Hannes Wolf kept faith in the same sides that beat 1. FC Heidenheim and Erzgebirge Aue respectively.

Klaus' killer blow

Hannover began the brighter of the two sides, though the early stages of the game were tight and tense. Some good work down the left from Edgar Prib provided some early hope for the home fans, and Florian Hübner's volley was the first real effort on goal from the Reds. They knew that a win was vital.

Yet Stuttgart responded and Alexandru Maxim's flicked header forced a fine save from Philipp Tschauner, only for the play to be brought back for offside. Not long after that opening, some determined play by Miiko Albornoz saw his cross headed inches wide by the darting run of Niclas Fullkrug heads just wide

It was around this time that Bielefeld started their incredible scoring run against Eintracht Braunschweig, and every single one of the six goals that followed was greeted by a sizeable cheer from the hosts. However, that was almost silenced when Maxim broke behind the Hannover defence and just failed to find the incoming Simon Terodde.

Yet, just before the break, there would be cheers of their own as Klaus managed to squeeze his side in front. After Ebenezer Ofori was dispossessed, Klaus went on a fantastic, penetrating run to the edge of the area before slipping - himself included - the ball in off the far post. The home fans were, understandably, overjoyed.

Hosts hold on

Hannover started the second half as they ended the first, as Klaus' 20-yard free-kick was tipped over smartly by Mitchell Langerak. It took a slightly more unorthodox save from Tschauner to deny Daniel Ginczek, who had escaped through on goal before being trumped in a one-on-one situation.

Stuttgart did respond and came close to getting on level terms, after that Ginczek opening there was an even better opportunity for Marcin Kaminski but his free header was off target. It was a similar story for Terodde minutes later, though his was much more difficult as he was under pressure from two defenders.

After a period where neither side could break the midfield barrier, a flurry of late chances arrived. Martin Harnik had a header well scooped over the bar. He then rattled the post after a clever cut-back, and just as the game edged to a close Salif Sané hauled down Terodde when through on goal. He was sent off, Maxim's free-kick went narrowly wide.

A wise decision in hindsight, and it seems as though it will be enough for both sides to make it back to the Bundesliga at the first time of trying.