Promoted side Hannover continued their unbeaten start to the season to go top of the table - temporarily at least - with a deserved 2-0 victory at home to Hamburg in the Matchday 4 opener on Friday evening.
The match was a feisty encounter right from the off, as was to be expected in a northern derby, and although neither side could be faulted for effort, clear-cut chances were a rarity in the opening 45 minutes. Lewis Holtby had Hamburg's best opportunity but fired just over with a free-kick, while Marvin Bakalorz went closest at the other end with a 25-yard curler that narrowly missed the target.
Hamburg were missing Bobby Wood's pace and movement up front - the USA international was absent due to a knee injury - and the hosts made the most of it, increasing the pressure early in the second half. They soon edged ahead, with Martin Harnik netting his third Bundesliga goal of the season from close range after Hamburg failed to deal with a left-wing cross. The Reds remained on top and sealed the points late on when Ihlas Bebou tapped in the rebound after Christian Mathenia spilled a free-kick.
Man of the match
Who else but Harnik? The Austria international is on fire this season and although his goal wasn't pretty - bundled over the line from close range - he was in the right place at the right time to score the all-important opener and break Hamburg's resolve.
- Harnik only scored two goals for Stuttgart in 19 Bundesliga games in 2016/16. He now has three in four outings for Hannover this term.
- Hamburg striker Törles Knöll made his Bundesliga debut in this game. He only just turned 20 on 13 September.
- HSV's Douglas Santos made his first appearance in almost five months here, having not featured since playing away to Darmstadt at the end of April.
- Victory took Hannover's unbeaten run to 16 in all competitions, the best streak of any professional club in Germany.
- Bebou scored his first ever goal for Hannover.
- Hannover coach Breitenreiter spent three years of his playing career at Hamburg, scoring 12 goals in 71 appearances.
- Ostrzolek moved from Hamburg to Hannover this summer. The 27-year-old left-back played 81 Bundesliga games for HSV and scored one goal.
Hannover: Tschauner (c) – Korb, Sane, Felipe (Bebou 14'), Ostrzolek – Anton – Bakalorz, Schwegler – Harnik (Hübner 84'), Karaman (Klaus 78'), Füllkrug
Coach: Andre Breitenreiter
Hamburg: Mathenia – Diekmeier (c), Papadopoulos, Jung, Santos (Sakai 86') – Ekdal (Knöll 74'), Walace – Hahn, Holtby, Jatta (Salihovic 60') - Schipplock
Coach: Markus Gisdol