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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Nov 13, 2006

Stuttgart beat Hanover to go top

BERLIN, Nov 13 (Reuters) - VfB Stuttgart moved top of the Bundesliga for the first time in more than two years after coming from behind to win 2-1 away at Hanover 96 on Sunday.

Stuttgart, looking to take advantage of Werder Bremen's surprise 3-1 defeat by Borussia Dortmund on Friday, fell behind in the 13th minute when Jan Rosenthal swept in from 12 metres.

Hanover kept the visitors at bay until the end of the first half but two goals in five minutes just after the break from Thomas Hitzlsperger and Cacau set Stuttgart up for a fourth successive victory.

The result was enough to take them above Werder and into first place with 24 points from 12 games.

Werder are second on 23, ahead of Schalke 04 on goal difference after their 4-0 win at home to Mainz on Saturday.

Champions Bayern Munich, who struck late to claim a much needed 3-2 win at Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday, are in fourth place on 20 points.

Stuttgart looked set for an easy win as Mario Gomez tore through the home defence twice in the opening six minutes.

The second of those two attacks might well have brought Stuttgart a penalty as the Spanish-German striker fell after apparently being tripped by Dariusz Zuraw.

Hanover were soon ahead, though. Michael Tarnat broke down the left and pulled the ball back for Rosenthal to supply a deft finish.

Stuttgart's surge up the table has come thanks to their ruthless finishing rather than any exceptional build-up play.

Once again they did just enough to snatch a win thanks to two alert pieces of finishing.

Hitzlsperger, waiting unmarked at the far post, supplied a controlled volley to convert Cacau's cross and level the scores in the 49th minute.

Five minutes later Gomes beat the offside trap and struck a post from just inside the area. Cacau was on hand to tap in the rebound.

Hitzlsperger was red-carded when he received his second booking in the 90th minute but that did nothing to dampen the Stuttgart celebrations as they returned to the top for the first time since October 2004.

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