The relatively short trip down the A27 into Niedersachsen proved a disappointing one for Werder Bremen fans as they were forced to settle for a point from their visit to the HDI Arena after a 1-1 draw.
With the hosts without a win in 15 games and important points on offer for the Grün-Weißen in their quest for a Europa League place, optimism was high going into this Week 32 fixture.
However, Viktor Skripnik was once again left extremely grateful for the freekick artistry of Zlatko Junuzovic to save his team with a second half equaliser to cancel out Lars Stindl’s opener.
To be honest a point is probably unsatisfactory for both sides for differing reasons, but after a largely toothless Werder display, it will be taken by the Hanseaten faithful.
In fact, Junuzovic’s trademark set-piece goal with 12 minutes to play in the second 45 minutes was the visitor’s only tangible effort at that stage of the game, so we should perhaps be thankful to come away with anything.
That said with both Dortmund and Augsburg (Barca-sized hangover for Bayern!) winning and Schalke still to play later today, points really do count double at this stage of the season.
There was one change from last week’s win over Eintracht Frankfurt with Sebastian Prödl out through illness, and Jannik Vestergaard returning to the back four to replace him.
After a poor first period though, the Werder coach clearly was not happy with what he had seen and reacted at the interval with a double substitution replacing Philipp Bargfrede and Izet Hajrovic with Fin Bartels and Levin Öztunali.
With the game seemingly inching away from Werder, Hannover committed the cardinal sin of handing a freekick to their visitors 25 meters from goal. As we are all aware this is Junuzovic territory and the Austrian maestro didn’t disappoint curling home yet another sublime effort.
Werder’s hero almost snatched an unlikely winner in the 85th minute with another freekick effort but was narrowly off target. Clemens Fritz too had a late chance to score, but it would have been cruel on the hosts had Werder stolen all three points and scarpered back up the autobahn.
So with two games to go the European dream is still on, but it is really going to depend on other teams dropping points and SVW taking full points from tricky games with Mönchengladbach and Borussia Dortmund.
Hannover 1 (Stindl 21)
Werder Bremen 1 (Junuzovic (78)
Hannover: Zieler, Sakai, Marcelo, C. Schulz, Albornoz, Schmiedebach, Sané, Stindl, Kiyotake (Karaman 67), Prib, Briand (Ya Konan 86)
Werder Bremen: Casteels , Gebre Selassie, Lukimya, Vestergaard, Sternberg, Bargfrede (Öztunali 46), Fritz, Hajrovic (Bartels 46), Junuzovic, di Santo, Selke (Makiadi 92)
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