Hannover 96 extended their unbeaten home record and climbed to fifth in the Bundesliga with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Borussia Moenchengladbach on Sunday, while Schalke 04 were held 1-1 by TSG 1899 Hoffenheim.
Didier Ya Konan slid in to give the home side the lead in the 57th minute by deflecting Konstantin Rausch’s cross through Marc--Andre ter Stegen’s legs.
Hannover, who remain the Bundesliga’s only team unbeaten at home this season, made it 2-0 in the 77th minute when Sergio Pinto sent Jan Schlaudraff free and the former Moenchengladbach player waited before picking out Mame Biram Diouf with a precise cross.
Havard Nordtveit pulled one back a minute later when he toe-poked the ball past Ron-Robert Zieler after beating three Hannover defenders.
Zieler ensured his side claimed all three points with two saves in stoppage-time from Marco Reus and then Filip Daems.
Both Hoffenheim and Schalke had debatable penalty decisions go their way in the late game.
Sven Schipplock earned Hoffenheim’s spot-kick in the 29th minute after Lars Unnerstall stretched out his leg. The Schalke goalkeeper was given a yellow card and had to pick the ball out of his net a minute later when Sejad Salihovic scored the penalty.
Winter transfer Chinedu Obasi got Schalke’s penalty against his former side in the 80th minute when he fell under light contact from Andreas Beck just inside the area.
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar sent Tom Starke the wrong way as the Dutch striker joined Bayern Munich’s Mario Gomez as the top scorer with 23 goals this season.
Schalke looked tired after losing 4-2 to Athletic Bilbao in the Europa League on Thursday night, but they consolidated third place by moving three points ahead of Moenchengladbach.
Hannover are 10 points behind Moenchengladbach.
“We started to play too late,” -Moenchengladbach coach Lucien Favre said after his side’s second loss in a row. “After the win in Leverkusen, it was hard against Bayern [in the German Cup semi-final] and Hoffenheim. That’s the 5 percent we’re missing at the moment.”
Diouf’s fifth league goal of the season was his second in four days after the Senegal striker claimed an important away goal in the first leg of Hannover’s Europa League quarter-final at Atletico Madrid.
Much of the action happened off the pitch on Sunday, with Bayer 04 Leverkusen firing Robin Dutt as coach and Cologne opting to leave Stale Solbakken in change for their battle against relegation.