A courageous 1-0 loss
A battling defeat: Hannover are still without a point in 2016 after four attempts. Mkhitaryan scored the only goal of the day for Borussia Dortmund in the 57th minute.
Changes for both sides
It was not just the Reds who were forced into making changes because of a long injury list. BVB coach Thomas Tuchel also rotated his squad with four changes. The Bundesliga’s top scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang picked up an injury during the week in the DFB Cup win and so was replaced by Shinji Kagawa. Neven Subotic, Matthias Ginter and Gonzalo Castro also returned to the starting XI. For Hannover, Ceyhun Gülselam, Miiko Albornoz, Salif Sané, Kenan Karaman and Artur Sobiech all came into the side following the 1-0 loss against Mainz.
It was clear from the start to the 80,900 fans inside the Signal Iduna Park that the Reds had not made the journey to Dortmund to put on a spectacle of attacking football. There was much more focus on compactness in defence. In just the ninth minute, Marco Reus found himself free in front of Ron-Robert Zieler’s goal, and his header from Lukasz Piszczek’s cross forced the keeper into making a superb save. The 26-year-old Germany international tested the quality of our number 1 again just a few minutes later as his free kick from 20 yards hit the woodwork.
“I did not see a lack of self-belief today.”
First attacking chance before half time
After standing compactly behind the ball and putting in a lot of work off the ball, Thomas Schaaf’s side eventually dared to venture forward just before the break. Hiroki Sakai began the move in the 36th minute when he ran the length of the right wing before his cross was narrowly missed by the on-rushing Uffe Bech. They posed a further threat four minutes before half time when Andre Hoffmann headed Prib’s cross straight into the hands of keeper Roman Bürki. Shots from Ilkay Gündogan and Kenan Karaman just before the half-time whistle brought an end to a battling first half for the Reds.
Hannover’s keeper had to turn around and look behind him for the first time in the 57th minute. As the players in front of him tried to advance, they lost the ball and the Black-Yellows were able to counter lightning-quick through Gündogan, Reus and Mkhitaryan. The latter was able to finish the move as his unstoppable shot from 20 yards found the bottom right corner to make it 1-0. Unfazed by the goal, Hannover continued their defensive work. There were a lot of good signs for the Reds: the commitment, the willingness to run and the desire. It was just the lack of creativity going forward that meant Hannover had no more meaningful chances before the final whistle. In the end, the points deservedly belonged to the hosts, who controlled large parts of the game.
Without a point in 2016
The defeat in Dortmund was the fourth since the winter break for Thomas Schaaf’s side. Nevertheless, the performance against the team in second place will give the boys some encouragement. A good, compact team performance by the Reds often exasperated Borussia. The bottom side will now be able to take this spirited performance into Sunday’s meeting with Augsburg and finally pick up the first points of 2016!
Borussia Dortmund: Bürki - Schmelzer, Hummels, Subotic, Piszczek - Ginter (75’ Weigl), Kagawa, Gündogan, Castro (64’ Pulisic), Mkhitaryan (75’ Durm) - Reus
Hannover 96: Zieler - Sakai, Milosevic, Gülselam, Albornoz - Hoffmann, Sané, Prib (72’ Saint-Maximin) - Bech, Karaman, Sobiech
Goals: 1-0 Mkhitaryan (57’)
Referee: Günter Perl (Munich)
Photos: deisterpics / firo sportphoto