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UPDATE 2-Soccer-Hanover win despite debutant defender's karate kick

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

* Hanover win despite playing for an hour with 10 men

* Early blunders cost Duesseldorf

* More trouble for table-propping Fuerth (Updates with Freiburg v Bayer Leverkusen)

BERLIN, Jan 26 (Reuters) - Hanover 96 overcame a miserable debut from Sebastien Pocognoli, sent off for a karate kick after 34 minutes, to beat VfL Wolfsburg 2-1 in the Bundesliga on Saturday while second-placed Bayer Leverkusen drew at Freiburg.

Leverkusen's goalless draw in the Black Forest region will give Bayern Munich the chance to increase their already impressive lead at the top at VfB Stuttgart on Sunday.

Bayern have 45 points from 18 games, eight ahead of Leverkusen who had won six of their last seven games. Defending champions Borussia Dortmund are third with 36 points after their 3-0 win over Nuremberg on Friday.

Borussia Moenchengladbach kept their Champions League hopes alive when they beat bungling Fortuna Duesseldorf 2-1 after being gifted two goals in the opening quarter of an hour.

Adam Szalai scored twice to help Mainz 05 win 3-0 at bottom club Greuther Feurth who remain without a home win in their first season in the Bundesliga. The Hungarian's brace took his tally to 11 in the league this season. Yunus Malli was also on target.

Fourth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt, who occupy the Champions League playoff place, beat Hoffenheim 2-1 while Schalke 04 drew 0-0 at lowly Augsburg.

Stefan Aigner tapped in a 67th-minute winner for promoted Frankfurt, two minutes after Kevin Volland cheekily back-heeled the ball into the net for Hoffenheim to cancel out Martin Lanig's first-half opener.

Frankfurt, have 33 points from 19 games followed by Mainz 05 (30), and Schalke and Gladbach on 29.

TEN MEN

Hanover were reduced to 10 men when Pocognoli, signed only five days earlier from Standard Liege, went in studs first on Fagner and stuck his right foot into the Brazilian's thigh.

Despite this, the hosts, 1-0 in front through Mohammed Abdellaoue's third-minute opener, increased their lead minutes later when Senegal forward Mame Biram Diouf scored with his shoulder.

Diouf hit the post from close range, the ball ricocheted straight back at him and rebounded into the net.

Alexander Madlung pulled one back for Wolfsburg at the start of the second half. Naldo, Diego and Vierinha all had chances as Wolfsburg pinned Hanover into their own half but the hosts clung on.

Gladbach went ahead after six minutes when Spanish defender Juan Antonio Gonzalez, under no real pressure, prodded Oscar Wendt's low cross into his own goal.

Eight minutes later Duesseldorf gave the ball away near the corner flag and Luuk de Jong's low cross was turned in by Patrick Herrmann.

Dani Schahin pulled one back for the visitors with a penalty, harshly awarded for handball six minutes after the re-start, but Gladbach dominated the rest of the game and should have won more comfortably. (Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne; Editing by Alison Wildey)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130126/update-1-soccer-hanover-win-despite-debutant-defenders-karate-k