Summary

  • Hannover went down after a disappointing campaign.
  • Went through three different coaches.
  • Only won four of 17 games on home turf.

After 14 uninterrupted years in the top flight, Hannover 96's Bundesliga stay came to an end after a disappointing 2015/16 campaign.

Season in a nutshell

Hannover's recruitment last summer left plenty of fans eyeing a top-half finish, with talented duo Oliver Sorg and Felix Klaus joining from relegated SC Freiburg. Hiroshi Kiyotake, meanwhile, was meant to step up and replace the goals and assists of the outgoing Lars Stindl. The Japanese missed the first three games of the season, as well as Matchdays 13 to 21, due to injury, although it was not just down to the absence of his creativity that Die Roten struggled. Coach number one of the campaign, Michael Frontzeck, stepped down at Christmas with his side in 17th and a point from safety having suffered a league-high 11 defeats.

Thomas Schaaf - coach number two - arrived, but could not buck the trend: the former SV Werder Bremen tactician won one and lost ten of his 11 games in charge, before he was replaced by coach number three, Daniel Stendel. The former youth-team supremo only lost two of his six games in charge, but the damage had already been done and the northern club's relegation was confirmed on Matchday 31.

Top three games

MD14: Hannover 96 4-0 FC Ingolstadt 04

Comfortably Hannover's biggest win of the season, three goals in the first 24 minutes inspired Frontzeck's men to a crucial three points.

MD29: Hertha Berlin 2-2 Hannover 96

Stendel's maiden game in charge of the first team brought immediate improvement as Hannover impressed in taking a point from the high-flying Berliners.

MD30: Hannover 96 2-0 Borussia Mönchengladbach

Goals from Waldemar Anton and Artur Sobiech gave Stendel a first victory in his second game in charge.

MVP

Goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler was one of the few constants for Hannover amid a turbulent season: the FIFA 2014 World Cup winner played every minute of every game, regularly turning in face-saving performances for his team. Few Hannover fans will begrudge him the chance to stay in the top flight if it comes along.

Ron-Robert Zieler enjoyed a fine personal season for the 96ers.

What is next?

While Zieler looks likely to depart, plenty of key players - including Salif Sane - have contracts valid for the second tier. Reinforcements will have to be brought in up front and at centre-half, however, if Die Roten's Bundesliga 2 stay is to be a short one.

Salif Sane (front) could be a key player in the upcoming Bundesliga 2 campaign.

Personal Highlight

For bundesliga.com reporter Jürgen Blohs, Hannover battling back from a goal down to take a 1-1 draw at local rivals VfL Wolfsburg on Matchday 7 was a highlight. Frontzeck's side followed up the impressive point with wins over SV Werder Bremen and 1. FC Köln, although a run of four consecutive defeats thereafter pointed to the struggles to come.