5 Magical Moments in Hannover’s Hinrunde

Long time Hannover supporter, Ansgar Löcke sums up his club’s Hinrunde for us using five key moments.

I could write a chronological summary of what has encompassed the season so far, with all the high- and low-lights, the odd anecdote as well, rounded off by some more or less useful puns. But I won’t. I’ll let you know about the top 96 moments (just kidding), top 5 moments of the season so far from a supporter’s point of view.

5:                   Jan Schlaudraff’s goal against Hamburg. The game itself was not good, Hamburg deservedly had taken the lead, our great home record (unbeaten in the league) was threatened and Drobny was in great form that night. He had produced very good saves to keep his side in the lead, but this magnificent strike by „Schlaufi“ was unstoppable. It won goal of the month in Germany and is a favorite to win goal of the season. He needed a goal, so he got himself a goal and his team a draw. Well done.

4:                  The return of Markus Miller. It is a very special case and was treated brilliantly by Markus, the club, the supporters and everyone around. Of course we have a very high awareness when it comes to mental problems, given what has happened to Robert, but it still was a shock when Markus stepped forward and told the public that he needed treatment. It came as a big relief when he returned a few months later, completely fit again and happy to play again. He showed what a reliable keeper he is in the final group match against Poltava. A very solid performance by the goalkeeper in the 3-1 win, the goal a result of a penalty. We all hope he stays as he is in the future.

3:                  The game against Bayern. Maybe I only put it in to wind up Bayern fans and their hypocritical opinion towards the whole Pinto/Boateng/Schulz story. Maybe because I thought that it was a fully deserved win. Maybe we were lucky in one or two situations and in most others the referee got the decision spot-on. Or maybe it is always nice to beat Bayern at home and not many teams have done that this season. And I’d like to win against them again in the Rückrunde.

2:                  The win in Copenhagen and Stindl’s goal. It was a very close call between this one and the 1st spot. But 2nd is still a great spot, ask Leverkusen or Schalke fans. I told the story before, I was able to travel up to the Danish capital and watch the match from the home stand in the middle of drunken Danish ultras. That was fun. Not that much, when they took the lead, but certainly when we equalized and finally got the winner. That was massive. We had more than 10,000 supporters and with that more than a 3rd of all seats in Parken and when Lars Stindl converted one of his chances (normally a miracle in itself) with a smashing volley, it all exploded. He was unlucky that Schlaufi scored his golazo in the same month, otherwise his chances would’ve been good, but ultimately this goal meant a very good possibility of progressing by deciding the race at least for 2nd spot against Copenhagen. We were outclassed by Liege away next, but that night was pure magic.

1:                  The play-off against Sevilla. Speaking of magic. This one still gives me goosebumps. This fixture had the town of Hannover and all their supporters buzzing. Fans queued for hours at the ticket counters to get any tickets at all, servers crashed online and a few hours after the tickets were up for sale, they were all gone. Clearly the supporters were up for the tie. And so were the players. Sevilla were the clear favorites on the paper, because they have quite a big European history, but the Reds brushed those papers aside that night and just went for it. Schlaudraff scored with a brace to win the first leg 2-1. That result meant that nothing was won yet, with Sevilla having the away goal, but we knew that we could sit back and they needed to attack.

The return leg turned out to be the most nerve-wrecking football match that I can remember. That crowd in Sevilla was wild. Our team was so inexperienced on international level and sometimes was pushed back so far, they nearly joined the supporters in the stands. Moa gave us the lead only for Pogatetz to score an own goal before half-time. In the second half the pressure was enormous. We were denied a clear penalty, Sevilla kept pressing. I remember we had the full support of Germany, especially of the Dortmund fans, because of the way they went out against Sevilla the year before. When the final whistle came after half an eternity, my heart beat was on a very unhealthy level. But it was so worth it. We, the small Hannover side, had beaten the heavily favored Sevilla.

Looking back, it seems fitting, that the first spot is a draw, given that we have 11 draws from 27 games in all competitions this season. But then that can be a good resolution for next year. Not so many draws. I remain hopeful for the rest of the season. Brugge is beatable in the next round of the Europa League, we know where our strengths and weaknesses are in the league, it could be worse. So, bring it on!

You can follow Ansgar on Twitter.

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Niklas Wildhagen

Niklas is a 29-year-old football writer and podcaster who has been following the Bundesliga and German football since the early 90s. You can follow him on Twitter, @normusings, and listen to his opinions on @TalkingFussball and on the @AufstiegPod.




  • What’s with Hannover and wonder goals this season anyways? 😀

  • Awesome report. For me personally the away game of Poltava would have to be there, too, just because I was there, so I’d probably kick the Bayern game out, we won against them last season at home, too, so it’s nothing special anymore (jk). It was a magnificient first half of the season, let’s hope the second one keeps up. (So wait, BAyern was not able to draw one point off us in 2011? What a year!)

  • “their hypocritical opinion towards the whole Pinto/Boateng/Schulz story.”

    Ooh, elaborate!

    • Their total ignorance of what actually happened. Boateng came across the whole pitch to push a guy over with some force.
      Then the whole Pinto-bashing, “feigning injuries” and being a “dirty player”. That second, the whole Bayern staff must’ve forgotten that players like Robben, Ribery and now Rafinha are in their squad, not so long ago a certain van Bommel was praised for his attitude in the game.
      What’s good for one certainly isn’t good for others, albeit the actions being the same.

      • No, Boateng came across to pitch, stood over Pinto without touching anyone, and then retaliated when Schulz (and you can watch the video to see that he actually came running in to the completely static Kroos and Boateng) pushed Kroos. And as far as I know, Bayern fans wanted Schulz to be punished with a red just like Boateng to show consistency in refereeing decisions, which I find is entirely reasonable considering he’s the one who started the whole mess (unless players standing over other players feigning injury is some sort of crime nowadays).

        Even more, Boateng is a centerback who plays right next to Rafinha and if any player would manage to drift over to the scene of the, uh, foul, it would be him. I see no basis to your claim “came across the whole pitch to push a guy over with some force”, especially considering Schulz did not fall “over”.

        I’d also say that you can’t blame the Bayern staff for being unhappy about the incident considering their history with unreprimanded provocations on the pitch by Hannover players (Lars Stindl hacking away at Breno’s legs and theatrically falling down when Breno stopped chasing the ball in the game that got van Gaal fired comes to mind… actually, that one worked out well in hindsight!). Admittedly, Pinto was the wrong target for their frustrations (god knows modern football is full of divers). But if you can explain to me the logic of sending off the player who retaliated and only giving a yellow to the player who started the melee, I’m all ears!

        • I don’t think Pinto was feigning that injury. Boateng put in a 20 meter sprint, the fastest he ran all game btw, to “say a few words”. I don’t what was being said, but I sure as hell won’t assume that Boateng said “get well soon”. There was absolutely no need whatsoever for Boateng to get involved in that situation. Schulz simply wanted to protect Pinto who was on the floor being hurt, but his shoving was uncalled for and he was rightly yellow carded for what he did.

          However, going by the replay you see Boateng hitting Schulz, in therein is the difference. Boateng got red carded because he hit Schulz. Maybe a very strict decision, but absolutely defendable if you are going by the rule book. Bayern’s reaction to the whole mess was absolutely disgraceful, calling Pinto all sorts of names that was uncalled for. Disagreeing with the referee is fine, what the Bayern officials said after the game wasn’t.

          • 1) He was feigning that injury. Looking at the replays it doesn’t even seem like Rafinha touched him (both their feet were in the air and remained perfectly static in relation to their legs), and he was ready to play as soon as the drama ended. That is completely and utterly feigning injury, absolutely no question about it.

            2) Boateng did no “20 meter sprint, the fastest he’s done all game”. Seriously, blatantly lying about what he did isn’t getting you anywhere. Look at the video. As Rafinha looked back to the referee after he had blown his whistle, Boateng was doing the same when walking, WALKING, towards the scene.

            3) If you think that is a “hit”, then you’re going to wet your pants when you see someone actually getting hit! Pushing someone’s upper torso with your palm is not something most grown men would qualify as a hit. Not even Schulz thought it was, he easily remained on his feet after that contact.

            Those are three plain lies you just told. However, I did just check the entire scene start to finish and indeed Boateng was the first one to actually push someone in that incident – the Hannover physio who nudged Kroos to get out of the way when approaching Pinto. I don’t know why most TV broadcast didn’t show the full scene… I don’t remember any precedent for a situation like this off the top of my head (pushing a staff member off the pitch like that), but it does justify the post-match suspension. As was calling Pinto all sorts of names after the game, because he fully earned them!

            As a sidenote, it is also interesting how Bayern gets branded as hypocrites for having players like Robben on their team… while Robben fully mans up to the dives he takes (the one against Bochum when I wanted to kick him in his suspiciously fragile groin for it had him apologizing in the press later) and Pinto quite simply lied after that whole melee (“I suffered a foul.”) and adding gems like “I do not feel guilty of anything”.

            Hence the frustration. Bayern does things wrong and gets the full stick (and rightly so), Hannover does it and gets away scot free and without any regret or modesty whatsoever.

            • Now I looked at the situation on Youtube again, and I concede that Boateng wasn’t running towards Pinto. I remembered that bit of the situation wrongly. I apologize.

              But, there was a slight contact when Pinto was tackled, and at those speeds that sort of thing can really hurt. I don’t think Pinto was feigning that injury. One of the camera angles clearly shows that. The way Kroos and Boateng gang up to shout at Pinto isn’t classy, to say the least…

              Furthermore, what on earth is Boateng doing there anyway? If you could enlighten me and tell me why Boateng’s presence was needed there I’d be forever grateful. I cannot see any need whatsoever for him to get involved in that situation to be honest. Granted, it wasn’t the hardest of hits, but that is probably how the referee saw the situation, and that is why he gave a red card to Boateng and a yellow card to Schulz. And handling the physio like that is also plainly stupid, but that was actually Kroos who pushed him(who, btw got away with that). This video shows that very clearly: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6pgml_VGwY&feature=related

              Schulz was actually pushing Kroos away from the physio who was just trying to do his job there, and then Boateng “punched” Schulz who doesn’t fall to the floor, but has to go three or four step backwards to keep on his feet. Boateng is then restrained by his colleagues, and my guess is that if he hadn’t been restrained, he’d probably would have done more than what he had already done.

              I don’t believe Manuel Gräfe to be a referee who has two sets of rules, one for Bayern players and one for the rest of the Bundesliga. Herr Gräfe is a very good ref in my book, and he gets a lot of crap that he doesn’t deserve. The ref did the best he could, and with hindsight one can make the case for Boateng’s red card being wrong, and that Kroos should have been red carded and Schulz and Boateng should have gotten a yellow card, but I think Boateng can mostly blame himself for getting sent off there. It has to be added that Bayern didn’t appeal the red card, something they could have done btw. Why not put your money where your mouth is? If they thought that it was a blatantly wrong decision, why not appeal? Most appeals don’t lead to any sort of results, but it still would have sent a signal.

              I agree with you that a player like Robben deserves recognition for what he did after the game against Bochum. I don’t think that Bayern players dive more than other Bundesliga players, there isn’t first of all any evidence for that, and second of all I’d think that most German referees are on top of these kinds of incidents. I don’t think that Bayern players are hold to higher standard than the rest of the Bundesliga players. There is more media attention to what they do, but that sort of thing follows with the territory if you are the most successful team in Bundesliga history. Other fans branding the most successful team as hypocrites is natural, there might be a certain degree of jealousy behind that. And, if other fans talk crap about your team, why bother meeting them on the same level? As the poet Jay Z puts it, you sometimes gotta brush that sorta thing off your shoulder…

          • Hah, yeah, we both got bits of that situation wrong. Still, if you’re going to condemn Boateng for standing over an “injured” player, well, there is nay a footballer left in the modern game that you could support! Hell, I think players should do it more – I sure would want to share a couple of choice words every time Robben pulls out his “OH GOD MY FOOT MY FOOT I AM INJURED FOREVER haha nevermind lets keep playing” move.

            Also, like I said, I am not really that bothered by Boateng’s card. Just how scot-free Hannover got away from that incident. I mean, the reuslt of all that was that Bayern played a full hour with a man down and looking at that whole incident it is not an unfair to think that such punishment was quite disproportionate.

            I guess Bayern can afford such, um… “unglaublich injustices” as opposed to other teams.

            • The memory… it’s a funny old thing. Next time I’ll watch the situation I’m commenting on before I make said comment…

              I’m not condemning Boateng for standing over Pinto and throwing insults, it is not nice, but not against the rules. I still don’t think that Bayern were harshly done by here. Kroos shoving the physio qualifies for a card at least, Boateng was too stupid for his own good, to bring such venom into the entire situation and Schulz didn’t cover himself in glory either. I don’t think Hannover got off scot-free. Pinto was fouled, and Schulz was booked for what he did. That card was pretty much what Hannover deserved from that situation. If Bayern’s players could take away something from that situation it should be: Don’t provoke your opponents, it doesn’t end well. It was after all Kroos and Boateng’s behavior that started the whole mess.

              And I have to say, these kinda things mostly balance themselves out over the course of a season. If your team is harshly done by one week, it will be said team’s opposition the next week which is harshly done by the next. Bayern isn’t treated more unjust by referees than all the other 17 teams in the league.