Goals: 0-1 Muto (26'), 0-2 Hack (31'), 1-2 Füllkrug (33'), 2-2 Füllkrug (pen, 38'), 3-2 Füllkrug (75')
Mainz's Gerrit Holtmann had a powerful early effort parried away by stand-in goalkeeper Michael Esser before a string of corners and crosses penned the promoted side in around their own box. Alexandru Maxim was the next to look to test Esser, but his strike from 25 yards took a slight deflection off teammate Robin Quaison which took the sting out of the effort. Hannover looked to have found a foothold in the game, but were punished for not closing down Holtmann and then Yoshinori Muto, who simply side-stepped Salif Sane tin the box to slot home with his first attempt of the game. Minutes later, the hosts were punished again when Alexander Hack powered home a towering header at the far post from Maxim's free-kick. Hannover struck back almost immediately, though, when in-form Füllkrug headed home a corner to reduce the deficit. A manic 15 minutes of football continued when new Mainz man Nigel De Jong brought down Felix Klaus in the box, before Füllkrug confidently fired Hannover back level from the spot.
A quiet second half suddenly burst into life on the hour mark, with Füllkrug having two big chances to secure his hat-trick. He was first denied one-on-one by goalkeeper Robin Zentner after a through-ball from Ihlas Bebou, before a crucial touch from Hack thwarted him from six yards. Mainz themselves came within inches of retaking the lead when Hack again met a set piece with his head, but the effort flew narrowly wide of the far post. Füllkrug did eventually get that hat-trick, though, when he fired home from 10 yards following tidy control from a Bebou cross as Hannover completed the turnaround.
#BundesligaDictionary Phrase of the Day 📚— Bundesliga English (@Bundesliga_EN) 13 January 2018
🇬🇧 Three pack ⚽⚽⚽
Niclas #Füllkrug completes @Hannover96's sensational comeback with his third of the day. #H96M05 3-2 #HattrickHero pic.twitter.com/CvCcdbFOXD
- Füllkrug has converted three of his four penalties this season and bagged his first ever Bundesliga hat-trick.
- It was the first top-flight hat-trick for Hannover since Mohammed Abdellaoue in October 2011.
- Hack netted his first Bundesliga goal on his 25th top-flight appearance.
- Hannover have only lost once at home this season - against Eintracht Frankfurt.
- Mainz are now winless on the road in a club record 15 matches.
- Hannover came from 1-0 and 4-3 down to draw 4-4 with Bayer Leverkusen in their last outing before the winter break; Mainz came back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Werder Bremen.
Hannover: Esser – Korb (Fossum 46'), Sane, Anton, Ostrzolek – Sorg (c), Schwegler (Karaman 62'), Bakalorz, Klaus – Bebou (Hübner 90'), Füllkrug
Unused subs: Radlinger, Albornoz, Harnik, Benschop
Absentees: Prib (cruciate ligament), Felipe (Adductor), Jonathas (thigh)
Coach: Andre Breitenreiter
Mainz: Zentner - Bronsinski, Bell (c), Hack, Holtmann - De Jong (Berggreen 78'), Gbamin - De Blasis, Maxim (Donati 62') - Muto (Ujah 81'), Quaison
Unused subs: Huth, Balogun, Fischer, Serdar
Absentees: Latza (suspended), Adler (hamstring)
Coach: Sandro Schwarz
Watch: Füllkrug reflects on his hat-trick heroics