Kalou hat-trick sinks Reds
Hannover 96 suffered a 3-1 home defeat to Hertha BSC on matchday 12 in the Bundesliga. Salomon Kalou bagged a hat-trick for the away side, as Hiroshi Kiyotake's penalty midway through the second half was not enough to turn the tide for Frontzeck's men.
Kiyotake given green light
96-manager Michael Frontzeck was relieved that in-form Kiyotake was able to return to training in time for this game, after having struggled during the week with a minor injury. Uffe Bech coming in for Manuel Schmiedebach was the only change compared to the side that recorded a 2-1 victory at Hamburg last weekend.
Hertha take the initiative
Following a slow start to the game, Hertha were first to produce a real moment of danger. However, Haraguchi's attempt from the edge of the area was blocked by Sané after ten minutes. The Reds were looking good defensively but Hertha still managed to find a way through, as Darida struck an attempt on target from a tight angle which fortunately Zieler claimed. Hannover were still to produce a shot on goal when Hertha took the lead after 33 minutes. Kalou did well to control the ball inside the Reds’ penalty area following a Haraguchi pass and his low effort went between Albornoz's legs, leaving Zieler no chance. 96’s best chance in the first half came when Sobiech, in a promising position, was unable to control a cross from Bech. The Reds were looking a bit livelier in the closing stages of the first 45 and nearly found the equaliser through Kiyotake's attempt from the edge of the area, which just flew past the target. In the end, Hertha took a deserved 1-0 lead into half time.
Penalties at either end
After the break, manager Frontzeck, who had replaced Klaus with Saint-Maximin at half time, saw his side get off to a better start and begin to put pressure on Hertha's defence. Again it was Kiyotake looking dangerous, his volley was aimed a little too high though. Just as Hannover were pushing for the equaliser, Hertha executed a counterattack to double their advantage. Following a Hannover corner kick, Darida played the ball into the path of Kalou who got away from his marker Marcelo and converted clinically on the hour mark. The Reds pulled one back ten minutes later when referee Dingert awarded the hosts a penalty after Bech had been held back by Plattenhardt inside the area. Kiyotake, as he had done in the HSV game, took on the responsibility and had no problems scoring from the spot. Hertha then shored things up defensively and didn't allow any more clear-cut chances until the final whistle. In fact, they were also rewarded a penalty after Weiser had been brought down by Marcelo, allowing Kalou to seal his hat-trick with just a few minutes left to play.
With eleven points from twelve games, Hannover remain in 14th place for the time being, while Hertha creep up the table into the top five. It was a disappointing evening for the Reds, who failed to show up in the first half and then conceded the second goal during their best period of the game. Frontzeck's men will now head into the international break before they begin preparations for the meeting with Gladbach.
Hannover 96: Zieler - Sakai, Marcelo, Schulz, Albornoz - Andreasen (71’ Erdinç), Sané - Bech, Kiyotake, Klaus (46’ Saint-Maximin) - Sobiech
Hertha BSC: Jarstein - Regäsel, Langkamp, Brooks, Plattenhardt - Skjelbred, Lustenberger (76’ Hegeler) - Weiser (90+1’ Stocker), Darida, Haraguchi - Kalou (90’ Baumjohann)
Goals: 0-1 Kalou (33’), 0-2 Kalou (60’), 1-2 Kiyotake (70’ pen), 1-3 Kalou (88’ pen)
Yellow cards: Sobiech, Andreasen / Darida, Plattenhardt, Skjelbred
Referee: Christian Dingert (Lebecksmühle)