Hanover continued their impressive run of Bundesliga form, smashing three goals past Frankfurt and moving to second in the table. In Sunday's other fixture, Kaiserslautern's ten men held visitors Cologne to a 1-1 draw.
Schulz headed home a second to spark early celebrations
If runaway Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund are a surprise package, the same can certainly be said of the new second place side, Hanover.
Mirko Slomka's side grabbed two goals in six minutes in the first half, knocking the stuffing out of their hosts, Frankfurt.
Things are running nice and smoothly right now for Slomka
Norwegian striker Mohammed Abdellaoue opened the scoring on fifteen minutes, beating two defenders and then slotting the ball past Oka Nikolov in the Frankfurt goal. Defender Christian Schulz headed home a corner at the near post to put Hanover in control. Hanover's Ivorian upfront talisman Didier Ya Konan rounded off the scoring a minute from time, converting a cross from Lars Stindl to make the final score 3-0.
Hanover have now won six of their last seven games.
"We are working well together, at the moment everything is running smoothly," Hanover coach Mirko Slomka told reporters after the game. "It's nice to be second."
The impressive away win moves Hanover ahead of Mainz and Leverkusen in the standings, but with 34 points, Slomka's men are still a whopping 12 points adrift of league leaders Dortmund. Nevertheless, it's the best league position the northern-German side have ever held in the second half of a season.
Understaffed Kaiserlslautern salvage a point
Two teams flirting with relegation, Kaiserslautern and Cologne, shared the honors in Sunday's later Bundesliga fixture.
While Podolski made the score sheet, Cologne failed to press their advantage
Visitors Cologne took the lead around the half-hour mark, courtesy of German national striker Lukas Podolski, who missed a couple of good chances to double his tally late in the game.
Kaiserslautern looked in even deeper trouble shortly before half time, when Srdjan Lakic was sent off for elbowing Christian Eichner.
But the ten men rallied in the second half, and Czech midfielder Jan Moravek equalized on 51 minutes. "The team did really well and played good football. The point was well-deserved," said Kaiserslautern coach Marco Kurz.
Kaiserslautern move up to 10th in the league, on 22 points, while Cologne are a lowly 16th, just three points off local rivals Borussia Moenchengladbach, who are currently propping up the table.
Author: Mark Hallam (AFP, dpa, Reuters)
Editor: Richard Connor