Just like champions Stuttgart, Hannover have achieved promotion back to the Bundesliga at the first attempt.
The Lower Saxony club will welcome the likes of Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig back to the HDI Arena next season after securing promotion with a 1-1 draw at mid-table Sandhausen on Sunday. Read more about the 2016/17 Bundesliga 2 runners-up below…
Who are Hannover?
Founded in April 1896 as Hannoverscher Fußball-Club 1896, Hannoverscher SV 96 won the first of two German titles in 1938 when they beat Schalke in a two-legged final - a result that remains one of the biggest shocks in German football history. Known as the Reds despite their official club colours being green, black and white, Hannover won their second league title in 1954 but had to wait nearly 40 years for their next major piece of silverware - the 1991/92 DFB Cup. They play at the 49,200-capacity HDI Arena, a venue which hosted five games at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany.
Watch: Hannover's top ten goals in 2016/17!
Despite finishing bottom of the Bundesliga in 2015/16, Hannover managed to keep the majority of their first-team squad together in the close season. The likes of Miiko Albornoz, Salif Sane, Edgar Prib and Manuel Schmiedebach have all made over 25 appearances for the club this term after opting to remain at the HDI Arena following relegation, while summer signings Niclas Füllkrug, Marvin Bakalorz and Martin Harnik have also played a major role in helping the 96ers bounce back to the top flight at the first attempt.
Everything appeared to be going swimmingly for Hannover and Daniel Stendel in January. Die 96er climbed to the top of the Bundesliga 2 table after a 1-0 victory over Kaiserslautern on Matchday 18, but the 43-year-old was relieved of his duties in March after a run of only two wins from five matches saw the Reds slip six points behind leaders Stuttgart. Hannover native and former Schalke head coach Andre Breitenreiter replaced Stendel in the HDI Arena hot seat and Hannover have never looked back, winning seven of their final 11 league matches to make an immediate return to the top flight.
The undoubted star of Hannover’s campaign, 29-year-old former Stuttgart forward Harnik has netted 17 goals in 30 league appearances this season, including a brace in Matchday 32's crucial 2-0 win at Heidenheim. Having registered just twice in the 2015/16 campaign, the Austria international will be desperate to prove he still has what it takes to perform at the highest level next season.
How they did it
After bursting out of the traps with convincing victories over Kaiserslautern and Greuther Fürth, Hannover only managed to pick up two points from their following three league matches. An eight-game unbeaten run between Matchdays 11 and 18 lifted the Reds to the top of the table, but a 2-0 loss at KSC on Matchday 22 ended up costing Stendel his job. That loss at the Wildparkstadion proved to be Hannover's last of the campaign as Breitenreiter guided the club to seven wins from their final 11 matches, with Matchday 34's 1-1 draw at Sandhausen securing promotion.