Hoffenheim gets its first win of the season in Hannover

A lucky 1899 Hoffenheim beat Hannover 96 in what was largely an unappealing match. Hannover came out strong and really set the tone for the first half of the game, setting up many good chances. It was only the host's final inability to convert in front of goal that let Hoffenheim escape going down a goal or two. The surprising goal from Carlos Eduardo in the 40th minute came largely against the run of play. Lamentably, the second half of the match didn't exhibit any increase in quality. Hannover continued to create a few chances while Hoffenheim seldom looked dangerous. Altogether the number of chances by both teams were too few and the spectators were forced to live through a largely incident-free second half. In the end however, this was enough for that all-important first win of the season.

Match Report

Hoffenheim came off the pitch at halftime somewhat fortunate to be one up. Hannover 96 had a great many chances to put one past Timo Hildebrand. Already in the 2nd minute, Hannover's Ivorian striker Didier Ya Konan almost had the better of 1899's ‘keeper, who managed to get the slightest of touches, turning a shot into the inside of the post. The first 25 minutes of the match were full of an equal measure of freewheeling football and defensive problems for both parties. Still the best chances fell to the hosts. Ya Konan was behind another dangerous move in the 25th minute, setting up Jiri Stajner, who could not make the most of his good position. A minute later, the African tested Hildebrand yet again in spectacular fashion.

However Hannover were punished for not effectively using their chances. Five minutes before the interval, Carlos Eduardo and Salihovic played an excellent one-two, freeing the Brazilian in the penalty area, where he hammered the ball under the crossbar.

The second half of the match saw a much better performance from Hoffenheim. Demba Ba came on for Christian Eichner, providing Hoffenheim with a third striker. Nevertheless, despite opportunities by both sides, the match became dominated by midfield play towards the last third of the match, as both teams' defences tightened up. Chances were few and far between. Hoffenheim closed out the match bravely repelling numerous set-piece opportunities from the hosts, until finally they managed to secure most of the possession and closed out the game.

Match Quotations

Martin Kind (President of Hannover 96): "It was a good first half, albeit one with too many squandered chances. We gave away the points a bit negligently today."

Sejad Salihovic: "We knew that it would be hard today. We are very pleased about the 3 points. We really worked hard for them in the second half."

Andreas Ibertsberger: "It was a lucky win because we really didn't play that well. We played better in the second half and managed to hold on to the result."

Didier Ya Konan: "We simply needed to score a goal. We made life difficult for ourselves."

Timo Hildebrand: "We allowed Hannover to play their game today and we weren't particularly alert. We didn't really show enough aggressiveness and determination in our defending. The goal really came out of nowhere. In the second half we managed to better contain Hannover, and now we finally have our first three points."

Christian Schulz: "I was held back when Hoffenheim scored. Today we showed a lot more structure in how we approached the game, and we played well without the ball. Our use of our chances was poor."

Hanno Balitsch: "Today we offered our best performance of the season so far. In the first 40 minutes of the game we really held our own against a very good Hoffenheim team. In front of goal however, we were just not deadly enough."

Andreas Bergmann: "It was a great first half performance from my team. We played with a lot of passion and got into very good scoring opportunities. We clearly had lots of chances to score and we really should have used them better to get ahead. Hoffenheim really capitalized on our mistakes. In the second half we didn't have the same energy and we ended up playing too many long balls. All in all, the performance was good and I am looking forward to sitting on the sidelines again when we face Dortmund."

Ralf Rangnick: "This was the luckiest win that I've ever celebrated here in Hannover. In the first half we really could have ruined everything - if we were to have gone behind by two or three goals we would have had a great burden to lift. The second half was better, at least in terms of our play without the ball. With the ball however we should have done far better. We have quite a lot of room for improvement but I think we are headed in the right direction. We want to show this in the next games. At halftime there were certainly some strong and clear words. Some of the players, for various reasons, aren't performing as they did last season."

Match facts and statistics »

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