Hannover made sure they will spend at least another season in the top flight by sweeping past Hertha Berlin on Saturday.
Hannover 3-1 Hertha Berlin
Goals: 1-0 Harnik (4'), 2-0 Sane (40'), 3-0 Füllkrug (42'), 3-1 Selke (73’)
The visitors could have hit the front inside sixty seconds when Salomon Kalou curled narrowly wide, but instead they found themselves trailing just three minutes later when Martin Harnik volleyed home from the edge of the penalty area. Hertha might have levelled soon after Harnik's eighth goal of the campaign, but Davie Selke headed just off target from an inch-perfect Vladimir Darida cross. Niclas Füllkrug then fluffed his lines from six yards out to complete an end-to-end opening 15 minutes, and only a point-blank save from Hertha keeper Rune Jarstein denied Hannover's top goalscorer midway through the half. The 25-year-old then smashed a shot off the crossbar, before centre back Salif Sane doubled the lead when he headed in from a free-kick in his last home game for the club. Füllkrug finally got on the scoresheet seconds later when he beat Jarstein at the near post for his 13th goal of the season.
Selke headed over early in the second half, and a Hertha comeback never seriously looked on the cards thereafter. Harnik drew another save from Jarstein, but the visitors did get some consolation when Selke netted with a goal that was remarkably similar to Füllkrug's. Mathew Leckie and Selke then went close but Hannover held on comfortably. In so doing, they booked another year in the Bundesliga, and ended Hertha's hopes of earning a place in the UEFA Europa League for a second successive season.
- Harnik has faced Hertha nine times in the Bundesliga, winning four and losing five. Before this match, his only goals against the capital club came in a 5-0 win for Stuttgart in February 2012, when he scored a hat-trick.Sane got his fourth goal of the season ahead of his summer move to Schalke.Füllkrug had only scored three goals in his last 10 matches before facing Hertha.With goals in his last four games, Selke is on a career-best 10 strikes for a single season.Kalou had scored six of Hertha’s last eight goals against Hannover, including a hat-trick at the HDI-Arena in November 2015. The Ivorian is the Old Lady’s top scorer this term with 11 goals.No other team had suffered more defeats in their previous nine games than Hannover (seven).
Hannover: Tschauner (c) – Sorg, Hübers, Sane (Elez 90+1')- Bebou, Bakalorz, Schwegler, Albornoz – Harnik (Anton 80') , Karaman (Sarenren-Bazee 86') – Füllkrug
Unused subs: Esser, Korb, Fossum, Ostrzolek
Absentees: Hübner (ankle), Prib (cruciate ligament), Klaus (adductor), Jonathas (hamstring), Benschop (thigh)
Coach: Andre Breitenreiter
Hertha: Jarstein – Pekarik (c), Lustenberger, Rekik, Plattenhardt – Darida, Skjelbred – Leckie (Dardai 84'), Lazaro (Mittelstädt 78'), Kalou (Ibisevic 52') - Selke
Unused subs: Kraft, Baak, Esswein, Duda
Absentees: Klinsmann (shoulder), Maier (glandular fever)
Coach: Pal Dardai