Hanover - Hannover 96 remain without a win since mid-December after being held to a 1-1 draw by Hertha Berlin on Friday.
Brooks goal chalked off
Both goals came in the last 15 minutes, with Valentin Stocker on the scoresheet for the second time in as many games to cancel out a scrappy opener from Hannover’s Christian Schulz.
Miiko Albornoz returned to the Hannover starting line-up at the expense of Edgar Prib in head coach Tayfun Korkut’s only change following last weekend’s 2-2 draw at Eintracht Frankfurt. Hertha boss Pal Dardai also shuffled his pack, with Nico Schulz making his first league start since the Matchday 23 win over FC Augsburg in place of injured left-back Marvin Plattenhardt.
The home side started brightly enough, but it was Hertha who carried the greater threat in the final third. John Anthony Brooks had a goal ruled out after Ron-Robert Zieler could only parry from Sebastian Langkamp, who was adjudged to have been offside. Genki Haraguchi tried his luck on the volley ten minutes later, forcing Zieler to push the ball behind.
Stindl strikes the post
Hannover created a couple of decent openings of their own around the half-hour mark, by which point Hiroshi Kiyotake had enjoyed more touches of the ball than any other player on the pitch. The Japan international supplied the goods on both occasions as Salif Sane headed straight into the arms of Thomas Kraft, before Jimmy Briand scooped over.
The omens certainly favoured the visitors going into the second half. 28 of the 42 league goals the Reds had conceded so far in 2014/15 had come after the restart, while Hertha had won their last two after going in at the break goalless. Hannover captain Lars Stindl hadn’t read the script, but with Kraft beaten his 20-yard daisy-cutter came back off the post.
Korkut turned to Borussia Dortmund loanee Leonardo Bittencourt and eight-goal leading scorer Joselu in a bid to rectify Hannover’s ills in front of goal. The duo’s energy levels gave the team a much-needed lift and it wasn’t long before they took the lead. Bittencourt forced a corner from which another towering Sane header caused panic in the Hertha box. Joselu made his presence felt in front of goal, although it was the tenacious Schulz who forced the ball over the line.
The sense of relief inside the HDI Arena was palpable, but the home side’s lead lasted less than ten minutes as Stocker sent an unstoppable acrobatic effort into the bottom corner from the edge of the box to level. It was the least Hertha deserved and while Hannover’s wait for a win goes on they will find a measure of solace in the fact they cannot be overtaken by the bottom three whatever happens elsewhere on Matchday 28.
Line-ups and statistics