Hanover - Hannover 96 came full circle as they suffered their first home defeat in 23 games to the last team to beat them at the AWD-Arena, going down 3-2 to Borussia Mönchengladbach with the visitors overturning a two-goal deficit in a dramatic second half.
A goalless first half was only a midleading start to a pulsating evening of football in Lower Saxony as five goals fell in a topsy-turvy second 45 minutes. Alvaro Dominguez, Roel Brouwers and Juan Arango helped the guests come from behind and take all three points after Jan Schlaudraff and Mame Diouf had built Hannover an illusionary lead.
Mirko Slomka made three changes following Hannover's last-gasp 2-1 over Helsingborgs IF in the UEFA Europa League, replacing Mohammed Abdellaoue, Steve Cherundolo and Christian Schulz with Hiroki Sakai, Mario Eggimann and Schlaudraff while Igor de Camargo and Brouwers started for Mönchengladbach instead of the injured Luuk de Jong and Tony Jantschke.
Despite both sides' positive intentions, chances were at a premium in the opening stages as the 96ers and Foals both thrived on good defensive organisation. However, the game sparked into life when Diouf was put through on goal by Lars Stindl's smartly threaded ball in the 19th minute, but he could not get past Borussia's goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen. At the other end, Igor de Camargo issued a first warning from the guests shortly after when he tested Ron-Robert Zieler from the edge of the box.
Patrick Herrmann then saw his long-range rocket bounce off Eggimann before Martin Stranzl headed wide on a rare foray out of the visitors' defence on the half-hour mark. Diouf should have done better on two occasions minutes later, capitalising on defensive errors each time, but failing to hit the target. Meanwhile, Arango came close to scoring for Borussia, curling a free-kick from 25 yards just past the right-hand upright.
Hannover dictated the early exchanges after the break and hit Lucien Favre's eleven on the counter-attack with Schlaudraff lobbing ter Stegen from outside the box to break the deadlock. Thorben Marx did well to stop Diouf shortly after, but the Senegalese forward was on the spot in the 53rd minute when he skilfully backheeled the ball in from close range after being left practically unmarked to reach a deflected cross.
The encounter was not over yet, though. Borussia were anything but discouraged and they could have pulled one back just two minutes later when de Camargo struggled with only Zieler to beat before Dominguez slotted in from five yards as the home goalkeeper failed to clear Arango's sharp effort (70'), and the Foals were back in business.
Mönchengladbach threw bodies forward as the game progressed, sensing an opportunity to get someting out of the game. Arango was the intelligent instigator of most of their promising moves, and unsurprisingly it was the Venezuelan international's free-kick that found Brouwers' head, the Dutch defender levelling matters in the 77th minute.
It was game on and Mönchengladbach's midfield maestro himself crowned matters, sneakily swerving into the goal a long-range free-kick that everyone, including Zieler, expected to be pinged into the penalty area. Subsitute Mike Hanke could even have added a fourth, but he missed twice in the dying stages while Hannover failed to mount a similar comeback.
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