Munich - Szabolcs Huszti turned in a masterful performance for Hannover 96 as they thrashed local rivals Wolfsburg 4-0 in the Volkswagen Arena.
Headers from Karim Haggui and Leon Andreasen and an Artur Sobiech double secured an emphatic win for Mirko Slomka's men, but it was Hungarian Huszti who was the star of the show, setting up all four goals and giving the Wolfsburg defence a day to forget.
Hannover were one of the weakest sides in the division away from home last season, but Slomka's team belied that reputation as they came roaring out of the blocks. Steven Cherundolo flashed a drive into the side netting and Lars Stindl's hopeful effort went just off target with Diego Benaglio beaten. They got their reward for an energetic start ten minutes in, however, as Haggui glanced home Huszti's teasing corner.
The away side were outplaying their hosts in every department and, although Ivica Olic almost netted against the run of play when he shot over after being released by Diego, the pattern of the game did not change as Hannover delivered a monologue. They were soon celebrating a second.
Sobiech on the money
Josue was caught in possession in midifield and the Reds took advantage in their trademark counter-attacking style with Huszti crossing for Sobiech to calmly sidefoot his side's second of the afternoon. Ex-96er Emanuel Pogatetz then saw yellow for a clumsy challenge on the Polish forward as the home side went in at the break with a mountain to climb.
Whatever half-time plans Wolves' coach Felix Magath had laid down for his side, they were thrown out the window as Hannover struck twice to put the game well and truly beyond VfL. Leon Andreasen headed in Huszti's free-kick for his first Bundesliga goal since returning from a two-year injury absence before Huszti then produced another sumptuous delivery for Sobiech to make it four at the back post.
Men against boys
A bad afternoon soon got worse for Wolfsburg when Robin Knoche, only on as a half-time subsitute, was dismissed for two bookable offences. Trailing 0-4 and with a man less, the Wolfsburg's players' heads dropped further and the final whistle couldn't have come more quickly for them.
Huszti almost crowned his performance with a goal when he dragged a half-volley wide, but it was nevertheless a performance to write home about for the man Slomka was so keen to lure back from Zenit St. Petersburg this summer.
Line-ups and statistics.