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Bundesliga: Stuttgart and Hannover secure lucky wins

In Sunday's late match, Hannover were extremely fortunate to get past Hamburg 2-1 and escape the drop zone. Earlier an own-goal by Darmstadt helped hand Stuttgart a 2-0 home victory.

Stuttgart were quicker out of the blocks in front of a noisy home crowd and very nearly went ahead within a minute. Daniel Didavi with a good look at goal, but the midfielder couldn't open the scoring.

As they have so often this campaign, the Bundesliga's smallest team weathered the initial pressure to make a game of it. By half-time, Darmstadt were Stuttgart's equals, although neither side had generated much in the way of goal chances.

The Lillies were the better side after the interval but were unable to take advantage of the mounting pressure they produced. Stuttgart benefited from a four-minute flurry of attacking activity with just over 20 minutes to play. Timo Werner first rattled the crossbar before a Christian Gentner cross forced Darmstadt defender György Garics to back-head the ball into his own net.

Werner could have extended Stuttgart's lead but dilly-dallied. After that, it was all Darmstadt, with speedster Marcel Heller putting his stamp on the match. On 83 minuts, Stuttgart keeper Przemyslaw Tyton blocked Heller in a one-on-one situation. And two minutes from time, the Pole produced a fine save from Luca Caldirola's near-post header.

"We deserved a point," a philosophical Darmstadt coach Dirk Schuster told reporters. "We lost the game but it won't kill us."

Despite Darmstadt's pluck, in the final scene of the game, Werner rounded the keeper Christian Mathenia to secure a 2-0 win for Stuttgart.

Fussball Bundesliga Hamburger SV gegen Hannover 96

Hamburg will be asking themselves how Hannover got the better of them

Hannover get lucky win in Hamburg

If Stuttgart were slightly fortunate to get their three points, Hannover needed a full-on godsend to book their 2-1 victory in Hamburg.

The visitors looked as though they hadn't quite gotten up out of bed at the opening whistle and were duly punished for it. After just six minutes, Nicolai Müller skipped past Marcelo and slid the ball in front of goal, where Michael Gregoritsch only needed to hold out his foot to put Hamburg ahead.

The hosts couldn't add to their advantage in the first-half, but Hannover showed the lack of inspiration that had keep them at or near the bottom of the table all season. The visitors failed to create a single clear-cut chance in the first-half.

The situation remained unchanged after the break until the hour mark, when Emir Spahic lunged clumsily in the box. Uffe Bech took a tumble, and Hiroshi Kiyotake converted the soft penalty.

Eight minutes later, defensive midfielder Salif Sané pushed forward and passed the ball to Kiyotake, who returned it with a cross. Sané's header was inch perfect. Hamburg had put nine shots on goal to Hannover's three, but Hannover led 2-1.

"I can't explain how we managed to lose this match," Hamburg midfielder Ivo Ilicevic said afterward. "We had the game under control in the first half and could have been ahead by two or three goals. Hannover was almost dead. Then they turn the game around, and no one can say why."

That was the end of the story. Hannover ran out the winners despite Hamburg putting the ball on target more than three times as often. The result moves Hannover out of the relegation zone, currently occupied by Werder Bremen, Hoffenheim and Augsburg.

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