Snow is extra man for Leverkusen in 3-2 win at Hannover

Bayern's Thomas Mueller, center, celebrates after scoring during the German Bundesliga soccer match between FC Bayern Munich and VfL Wolfsburg in Munich, Germany, Saturday, March 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

BERLIN — Bayer Leverkusen got a helping hand from the snow in its 3-2 win at Hannover in the Bundesliga on Sunday.

Hannover's Genki Haraguchi was denied an almost certain goal — with Leverkusen 2-0 ahead — when he rounded the goalkeeper and shot toward the empty net only for the orange ball to get stuck in the snow before it had crossed the line. Grateful defender Jonathan Tah got back to clear the ball.

Julian Brandt had a role in all the visitors' goals to help Leverkusen move fifth, a Europa League spot. The Germany midfielder set up both of Kevin Volland's first-half strikes, then crossed for Kai Havertz to get the winner in the 87th minute after Hannover had fought back to equalize.

Heavy snowfall played havoc with the game. Referee Soeren Storks interrupted the match shortly before the break to allow the pitch to be swept to make halfway lines, sidelines and penalty lines clear.

Perhaps mindful of Haraguchi's non-goal, the penalty area was also swept during the break.

Haraguchi set up Brazilian striker Jonathas to score in the 51st before the hosts equalized in the 73rd with an own-goal from Mitchell Weiser.

Havertz played a one-two with Brandt for the late winner, and Karim Bellarabi had another goal ruled out through VAR in injury time.

Hannover remains in the relegation zone, eight points from safety with little hope of survival after club president Martin Kind blasted the side during the week for being "kaput, badly assembled and a failure."

Two goals from Andrej Kramaric - the first a penalty - were enough for Hoffenheim to scrape a 2-1 win at home over last-placed Nuremberg.


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