Hertha Berlin and Hannover 96 shared the points following a gripping 2-2 draw in the Matchday 29 opener on Friday evening.
Hertha Berlin 2-2 Hannover 96
Having dropped points in recent weeks, Hertha began brightly as they sought to cement third place in the table. The hosts look the lead early as early as the third minute when Vedad Ibisevic flicked in Marvin Plattenhardt's excellent left-wing cross. However, Hannover responded well in their first game under new coach Daniel Stendel and equalised following a superb move around the edge of the box which ended with Artur Sobiech slotting in from close range.
With Hannover ten points adrift at the foot of the table, Stendel urged his side forward after the break and they were duly rewarded when Manuel Schmiedebach calmly side-footed into the net from Kenan Karaman's pull-back. The visitors spurned a couple of chances to add to their lead, and would regret that wastefulness when Salomon Kalou tapped in at the back post from Julian Schieber's cross. Both teams pushed for a winner late on but there were no further goals, leaving each with a point that does little for their respective ambitions.
Man of the match
Schmiedebach was outstanding in midfield for Hannover and his confidence on the ball spread to the rest of his team, allowing them to play with a freedom they have lacked for much of the season.
Hannover were bold, aggressive and energetic here and would have deserved to win. If they can reproduce performances like this in their remaining games then, whisper it, they could yet have a chance of avoiding relegation.
- Hannover's Noah-Joel Sarenren-Bazee was included in a matchday squad for the first time here, and was thrust straight into the starting line-up.Ibisevic's strike was the earliest goal Hertha have scored this season. Schmiedebach was born in Berlin and used to play for Hertha. Today's strike was only his second-ever Bundesliga goal.
Hertha: Jarstein – Pekarik, Stark, Langkamp, Plattenhardt – Weiser (Darida 57'), Skjelbred (c), Cigerci (Schieber 71'), Haraguchi – Kalou, Ibisevic
Hannover: Zieler (c) – Sakai, Milosevic, Sane, Prib (Sorg 79') – Schmiedebach, Anton – Sarenren-Bazee (Gülselam 73'), Kiyotake, Bech (Karaman 54') – Sobiech