With goalkeeper SVEN ULREICH of struggling Vfb Stuttgart looking back in despair, Ivory Coast international striker DIDIER YA KONAN of surprising Hannover 96 celebrates following his first goal of the match at the AWD Arena in Lower Saxony. (Nigel Treblin/DAPD
Backed by a brace from Ivory Coast international striker DIDIER YA KONAN, high-flying HANNOVER 96 hopped up to second place in the Bundesliga if only for the time being with a 2-1 victory over visiting VFB STUTTGART in Friday Night Football from Germany.
Hannover 96 are just the third team to have reached the ten-win plateau in the German top flight this season after Herbstmeister Borussia Dortmund and now third-placed FSV 05 Mainz, another team that has caught the attention of many.
FSV 05 Mainz, on 30 points, will face UEFA Champions League Group B winners Schalke 04 Gelsenkirchen on Sunday while Bayer Leverkusen, in fourth place with 29 points from 15 games, must travel north to face SV Hamburg on Saturday.
Ya Konan, easily Hannover 96’s leading scorer this season, grabbed his second goal for what proved to be the game-winning strike in the 76th minute, less than 120 seconds after Vfb Stuttgart defender GEORG NIEDERMEIER had leveled terms for the visitors.
Ya Konan, who registered nine goals in 25 games for the Lower Saxony club after coming down from Norwegian side BK Rosenborg Trondheim, has now matched his total from last term after playing 15 games for Hannover 96 this season; the 26-year-old attacker also extended his Bundesliga goal-scoring streak to three games.
Hannover 96 captain and United States World Cup defender STEVE CHERUNDOLO was injured and substituted in the 23rd minute; United States World Cup winger DAMARCUS BEASLEY did not make the Hannover 96 bench for the match.