Hanover - Hannover 96 head coach Tayfun Korkut warned his side were ready to make the step up in 2014/15 and, judging by Saturday's 2-1 win over FC Schalke 04, he wasn't exaggerating.
'The turning point'
The Reds came from a goal down to take all three points in a textbook smash-and-grab victory at the HDI Arena, sowing a welcome seed of optimism following last term's taxing mid-table travails.
"We were up against a top side who really wanted to win the game," Korkut explained after the game. "It was difficult for us to create chances. It wasn't working for us before half time and we were having to keep Schalke's forwards in check. Conceding in the 47th minute rocked us and we had to withstand a few hairy situations, but then came one of those moments that turned the game on its head. We're delighted with the result."
The catalyst for said turnaround was midfielder Edgar Prib, who applied the finishing touch to a fantastic bit of play out on the right-hand side from Leonardo Bittencourt to cancel out Klaas-Jan Huntelaar's opener, before combining with Hannover new recruit Joselu to seal the win three minutes later. "It was an important goal," the 24-year-old said of his 67th-minute equaliser. "It was the turning point. The game was on a knife edge, but we prevailed."
As luck would have it, Hannover's opening day win was something of a bitter-sweet occasion for the club's midfield synergist, who faces surgery and a short spell on the sidelines after suffering meniscus damage in his left knee during the game. Suffice to say Prib will now be hoping his side's battling qualities are enough to get them through the coming weeks without him.
"Before they scored, we were playing on the counter, but kept getting caught out on the break ourselves simply because we weren't organised enough," he recalled. "Once we found our game again we were able to equalise quickly. The game could have gone either way, but in the end we ran out deserved winners. We proved ourselves today."
'One of the best leagues in the world'
While Prib's solo display dominated the headlines, Hannover team-mate Miiko Albornoz was quietly scripting his own weekend sideshow as the fourth Chilean to tread the lionised Bundesliga boards in the league's 52-year history. The 23-year-old full-back only joined the club in June, but is in no doubt he made the right decision in swapping the Swedish Allsvenskan for Germany's .
"It's unbelievable to win on my first appearance for the club," enthused the Chilean international. "We played well, worked hard and never stopped fighting […] We've got off to a winning start against one of the best teams in the league. It couldn't have gone any better. I always wanted to play in one of the best leagues in the world and now I'm here with Hannover. It's a dream come true. Everyone's delighted."