German Bundesliga Roundup, Dec. 10
Didier Ya Konan scored twice to extend Hannover's winning streak to five games with a 2-1 victory over Stuttgart on Friday, putting the team in second place in the Bundesliga for at least one night.
The win gives Hannover 31 points from 16 rounds, leaving Mirko Slomka's team nine points behind leader Borussia Dortmund, which hosts Werder Bremen on Saturday.
"There's a certain ease and calm within the team," Slomka said. "The team is really tight with one another and doesn't let anything get to them from outside."
Mainz is third with 30 points ahead of its match against Schalke on Sunday and Bayer Leverkusen sits fourth with 29 points going into its game at Hamburg on Saturday.
Stuttgart, meanwhile, has struggled to find its form in the Bundesliga despite having already qualified for the Round of 32 in the Europa League.
The pressure on coach Jens Keller is likely to increase after a fifth straight league game without a win, as the team has dropped to 16th place with 12 points.
"It's our own fault," Cacau said. "It's the same problem. When we lose this kind of game and go into a game in this manner, that can't happen. And we have to apologize to everyone, the fans, the club. The attitude has to change. It has to improve. It has to change in every player."
Ya Konan's first goal came after he took advantage of a deflection from Stuttgart's Arthur Boka and struck a volley inside the right post.
Just three minutes later, Hannover's Manuel Schmiedebach cleared Cacau's header at the goal line with his head.
Niedermeier equalized by heading in Timo Gebhart's free kick, but Ya Konan then ran onto a looping pass by Christian Schulz and beat Stuttgart keeper Sven Ulreich to the far right side.