First Team

Defeat at Leverkusen

Hannover 96 were on the receiving end of a 3-0 loss to Champions League chasing Bayer 04 Leverkusen despite a pleasing performance. Kießling and Chicharito (x2) bagged for goals for the Rhineland club.

Sané and Schulz suspended
While Leverkusen’s coach Roger Schmidt made just one change to his line-up from the 1-1 draw at Hoffenheim, with Hilbert replacing Jedvaj, 96’s head coach Thomas Schaaf was forced into replacing two key performers after they picked up suspensions in the 2-1 loss to Darmstadt. Gülselam came into central defence for captain Schulz and new signing Yamaguchi replaced Sané. Albornoz also took over at right back for the injured Sorg.

Free kicks galore – Kießling nods home opener
The first chance of the game fell to underdogs Hannover when Schmiedebach looked to volley home an early goal, but fired wide in the tenth minute. Shortly afterwards, the Reds rode their luck as Kießling only managed to head a cross from the left onto the right-hand post. Goalkeeper Zieler then tipped a shot from Calhanoglu round the post despite being unsighted. But 96 did not hide away and had a big chance after a rapid counter-attack when Hugo Almeida fired wide from the left edge of the box, having failed to spot Yamaguchi alone in the centre. The Reds played with courage and went in search of further chances. The Leverkusen attack was being well marshalled, so the hosts had to turn to set pieces as Calhanoglu’s free kick from 25 yards forced Zieler into punching the ball away after 25 minutes. Bayer’s free-kick expert was handed several chances, but neither his crosses nor his shots produced anything dangerous. However, Hannover also had their own chances from dead balls: following a foul on Schmiedebach just short of the penalty area on the left, Gülselam took aim but his effort was deflected for a corner which came to nothing. Eventually it was Calhanoglu’s corner from the left which put the hosts in front. Stefan Kießling outleapt Gülselam and left Zieler no chance with his placed header just moments before half time. Thomas Schaaf’s side then went into the break with an unfortunate one-goal deficit.

Decisive Chicharito
The first chance of the second half fell to Leverkusen’s Kampl, but Zieler was equal to the Slovenian’s curling effort and pushed it wide of the post. The Reds showed a good approach to the game, but they were too inaccurate in their counter-attacking play. Just short of the hour mark, Leverkusen should have made it 2-0 when Calhanoglu’s effort after Bellarabi’s solo run struck first the bar and then the post before Albornoz was able to clear the ball off the line and away to safety. The hosts had deserved their lead and soon doubled their advantage from the penalty spot: Kießling went over Sakai’s leg and the previously anonymous Chicharito did not miss from twelve yards. Schaaf brought on Bech after a long injury layoff in place of Schmiedebach in an attempt to get back into the game, and his introduction soon led to a promising attack. The Dane floated the ball to Almeida, who passed it on to Hoffmann, but his shot from range did not have enough behind it to trouble Leno in the Leverkusen goal. Hannover were trying everything to get back into the game, but they could not take their chances. Almeida’s shot was deflected by Jedvaj but even that went wide. In the end it was Leverkusen who wrapped the game up when Chicharito bagged his second of the game, and his 13th league goal of the season for the Mexican.

Nothing to show again against Bayer 04
The match finished with a deserved win for Leverkusen, but the 3-0 scoreline did not reflect the performance by 96. Once again the Reds left emptyhanded against their bogey team. Nevertheless, Schaaf’s side put in a good performance against a side looking for Champions League qualification and will be looking to go one better in the important home game against Mainz.


Bayer 04 Leverkusen: Leno - Hilbert (78’ Jedvaj), Tah, Toprak, Wendell - Bellarabi (78’ Mehmedi), Kramer, Kampl, Calhanoglu (73’ Brandt) - Chicharito, Kießling

Hannover 96: Zieler - Sakai, Marcelo, Gülselam, Albornoz - Yamaguchi, Hoffmann, Schmiedebach (65’ Bech), Prib (76’ Saint-Maximin) - Almeida, Szalai

Goals: 1-0 Kießling (44’), 2-0 Chicharito (63’ pen.), 3-0 Chicharito (87’) 

Yellow cards: - / Gülselam, Sakai, Hoffmann

Referee: Tobias Welz (Wiesbaden)

Attendance: 28,000

Photos: deisterpics / firo sportphoto