Hanover - Hannover 96 fought back from a goal down to record a gutsy 2-1 win at home to FC Schalke 04 on Matchday 1.
Edgar Prib made the telling contribution, his second-half effort and cool assist for home debutant Joselu cancelling out Klaas-Jan Huntelaar's 11th Bundesliga strike of the calendar year.
Following their shock first-round exit to SG Dynamo Dresden in the DFB Cup, Schalke head coach Jens Keller recalled 2014 FIFA World Cup-winning pair Benedikt Höwedes and Julian Draxler to the starting line-up. Marco Höger and Max Meyer made way, while Knappenschmiede graduate Kaan Ayhan was handed a place in the back four at the expense of Felipe Santana.
With both sides still feeling each other out, an injury to Sead Kolasinac saw Schalke's Christian Fuchs enter they fray after 13 minutes. Hannover had been making good use of the ball in the wide positions up until that juncture, albeit without seriously testing Ralf Fährmann in the visitors' goal. The Royal Blues showed equal portions of endeavour, but again without creating any meaningful chances in the final third.
The chemistry not quite there between Schalke regular Huntelaar and new signings Maxim Choupo-Moting and Sidney Sam at one end, Hannover duo Prib and Joselu showcased their nascent understanding at the other, with the latter controlling well and firing narrowly wide in the 36th minute. Huntelaar found his feet late in the half, but German international Ron-Robert Zieler was equal to the task.
There had never been a goalless draw between the two top-flight adversaries in their last 50 league match-ups, and it was Schalke who ensured that run would continue in the 47th minute. Choupo-Moting could have scored himself after a divine through-ball from Draxler, but instead squared to Huntelaar for the simplest of tap-ins.
Schalke had their tails up and the travelling fans responded in kind, roaring their heroes through the second-half gears in trademark Bundesliga fashion. Missing the cut and thrust of their waylaid captain Lars Stindl, Hannover were, by contrast, already showing signs of losing the midfield battle as Choupo-Moting forced a world-class save out of Zieler from close range.
The Reds had offered little, before Leonardo Bittencourt's explosive right-wing run teed up Prib for the equalising goal with 23 minutes left on the clock. Hannover's goalscorer turned provider barely three minutes later, feeding Joselu - who left the field of play to a standing ovation after grazing the bar late on - for a deflected debut strike from which Keller's deflated Royal Blues failed to recover.
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