Hannover can almost plan for next season in the top flight of German football after a 3-2 win at Eintracht Frankfurt gave them plenty of breathing space at the bottom of the German Bundesliga. The Reds' second win in a row lifted them eight points clear of the bottom three ahead of the rest of the weekend's matches, and level on points with their hosts, who also seem safe with just three games of the season remaining.
Leon Andreasen put the visitors in front early on, but Martin Lanig soon levelled. Goals from Lars Stindl and Didier Ya Konan then put Hannover in command of the game, but their failure to convert a host of chances almost came back to haunt them. Alexander Meier pulled a goal back for the Eagles midway through the second half, but they were unable to find an equaliser in a dramatic conclusion.
Hannover got off to the best possible of starts when Andreasen guided Christian Pander's cross inside Kevin Trapp's near post. The lead lasted just ten minutes, though, before Lanig got his foot to a swinging free-kick and volleyed the ball into the roof of the goal from point-blank range.
Stindl, who got on the scoresheet as an emergency striker last weekend, repeated that feat to turn another Pander cross in with his head, re-establishing Hannover's lead in the 20th minute. Less than ten minutes later, a delightful chip through from Andreasen was swept past Trapp by Ya Konan, with Hannover now fully in control of the game.
Andreasen then hit the woodwork early in the second half with Szabolcs Huszti striking the crossbar soon after. It looked like Hannover might be punished for their profligacy when substitute Meier headed in Stefan Aigner's cross in the 68th minute.
But, despite the home side's valiant attempts, Hannover held firm to register a crucial away win which left them potentially just one win away from mathematical survival, along with their beaten hosts.