Hannover sink Leverkusen with penalties, rise to 10th

Reuters, BERLIN

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 - Page 18

Second-placed Bayer 04 Leverkusen slumped to a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Hannover 96 on Sunday, snapping their four-game winning streak and dropping the team to 11 points behind Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich.

Hannover’s Szabolcs Huszti was awarded two penalties and converted both himself to help his team to their first win in three games and lift them to 10th on 23 points.

Leverkusen — second in the Bundesliga tables on 30 points behind Bayern on 41 — got off to a flying start after Gonzalo Castro drilled in a cutback from Lars Bender after two minutes on a waterlogged and heavy pitch.

However, Huszti drew the hosts level in the 20th minute, sending Bernd Leno the wrong way to convert a penalty after he was brought down by Manuel Friedrich.

Hannover then took the lead as forward Mame Diouf, left wide open in the box, headed in a Jan Schlaudraff cross in the 57th.

Stefan Kiessling retaliated instantly with his 10th goal of the season, a powerful header, but it was the hosts who remained more aggressive.

The pressure paid off when Huszti was awarded a second penalty when Stefan Reinartz clumsily brought him down. The 29-year-old beat Leno again to hand his team their first win.

In the only other game on Sunday, Venezuelan Juan Arango’s outrageous lob from about 40m out sealed Borussia Moenchengladbach’s 2-0 win over FSV Mainz 05 to move up to eighth on 24.

Bayern Munich eased past Augsburg 2-0 on Saturday to stay in control a week before the winter break.

Champions Borussia Dortmund lost 3-2 to VfL Wolfsburg after a controversial penalty and red card to defender Marcel Schmelzer. They stay third in the league on 27 points.