A Bundesliga comedy…
Hannover travel to Mönchengladbach on matchday 2 of the 2013/14 season in the hopes of their second win in a row following their 2-0 victory over Wolfsburg on the league’s opening weekend last week. The tie between these two teams still conjures up one of the strangest matches in league history. When Hannover visited Mönchengladbach in the 2009/10 season they ended up making history, albeit it for the wrong reasons.
In what is now one of the most memorable games in Bundesliga history, Hannover were beaten 5-3 by Michael Frontzeck’s Gladbach, a Gladbach team featuring a young Marco Reus and a young(er) Dante as well as a certain up and coming American by the name of Michael Bradley. They were up against a Hannover team that nearly got relegated that season were it not for Mirko Slomka coming in halfway through the season.
The loss against Gladbach became symbolic of a rather forgettable season for the club. But it was the manner in which they lost that still sticks out in the minds of many German football supporters. On that cold winter day Andreas Bergmann’s Hannover managed to score three own goals, a record in the league’s 47-year existence at the time.
The only other time three own goals were scored in a Bundesliga match came all the way back in the league’s founding year in 1963 in a game between Kaiserslautern and Stuttgart. Before Haggui, Mainz’s Nikolce Noveski scored two own goals in a game in 2005 against Eintracht Frankfurt. Not that that was any consolation for Hannover or one very unfortunate individual.
Hannover defender Karim Haggui, who was responsible for two of those own goals, failed to see the humor after the match despite the almost comical nature of the game:
If it wasn’t so tragic, I’d sure be laughing about this.
His coach, Bergmann, meanwhile was in disbelief himself, never having witnessed something like that in his career:
It’s simply unbelievable. We scored six goals and still lost the match.
Similarly, Hannover goalkeeper Florian Fromlowitz saw it all in this game:
After the game tonight, nothing can shock me anymore.
Not only was the fact that three own goals were scored by one team unique, it was the flow of the game itself that added an additional layer of the absurd to the tragic narrative of the match. The first goal was comical to say the least and set the tone for what would appear like a scripted sports comedy. Fromlowitz came out to collect a loose ball only for it to slip and bounce of Haggui’s shin and into the back of the net. It didn’t stop there.
After Gladbach went up 2-0 Didier Ya Konan pulled one back for Hannover, giving them hope of a comeback. But only minutes after the restart in the second half their own goal-itis struck again with arguably the most ridiculos of the three own goals.
Constant Djakpa, instead of playing a simple ball back to Fromlowitz curled one back to his keeper from outside the box, eluding him and placing it into the bottom right corner. It would have been a sublime finish for a striker. It was an even better one for a defender, had it not been on the wrong side of the field.
Michael Bradley then put Gladbach up 4-1, all but sealing the game for Hannover. But perhaps spurred on by their own deficiencies so far Hannover fought back and scored twice with two minutes left. One more and they would have salvaged something out of a seemingly unsalvageable game. But as luck would have it…you guessed it….another own goal.
And it was the same man that started it all, Karim Haggui. The feeling amongst players, and Haggui, was so absurd that the defender couldn’t help but smile after his own goal. It was that kind of day.
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