It’s been an average campaign for Die Roten and without the midweek European games the club would’ve hoped for a better season. The season has had it’s highs but it’s also seen plenty of lows, so it’s no surprise that the club could only finish mid-table once again. After a few fantastic season’s which resulted in European adventures, Hannover have slipped into a side that’s fighting for mid-table, last season saw them finish in 9th place after having a decent run in the Europa League, this season they finished in 10th.
In the summer Hannover brought in some good young talent in the shape of Leonardo Bittencourt from Borussia Dortmund, Salif Sané from Nancy and Edgar Prib from Greuther Fürth, they also managed to sign Marcelo from PSV and young keeper Konstantin Fuhry from Stuttgart. There were plenty of players that left the club, eight players left permanently, older players such as Sérgio Pinto, Mario Eggimann and Karim Haggui. Other players that left the club were Konstantin Rausch and Mohammed Abdellaoue who both left for Stuttgart, Samuel Radlinger went out on loan to Rapid Wien and Johan Djourou finished his loan spell at the club.
With the transfers sorted and pre-season finished Hannover kicked their season off with a 2-0 away win against Victoria Hamburg in the DFB Pokal. Die Roten started the league season very well against sides that would all go on to finish above them, in their first six games they won against Wolfsburg, Schalke, Mainz and Augsburg, while losing against Borussia Monchengladbach and Bayern Munich. After performing really well during one of the leagues hardest starts, Hannover resumed their DFB Pokal duty, however a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich saw them exiting in the second round. Despite a promising start to the season their fans were left wondering what had happened, in the remaining Hinrunde fixtures Hannover only managed to win once in the eleven games, seven defeats and three draws including a goalless draw against their fiercest rivals Eintracht Braunschweig. Hannover’s best result in those eleven games was a thrilling 3-3 draw with Nürnberg, goals from Hloušek, Drmic and Nilsson gave Nürnberg a 3-0 lead at the break, but despite many thinking the result was in the bag Hannover were able to produce a brilliant fight back. Bittencourt pulled a goal back on the hour mark, three minutes from time Diouf set up a nervous finish when he pulled another goal back and then two minutes into injury time Diouf doubled his tally to snatch a point.
Hannover sat in 13th place going into the winter break and this forced the club to make a change, Slomka’s reign came to an end after three years and Korkut was chosen to replace him, the new head coach became only the second Turkish head coach to manage in the Bundesliga. During the winter break Hannover brought in striker Artjoms Rudņevs on loan from Hamburg and František Rajtoral on loan from Viktoria Plzeň, three players left on loan and Deniz Kadah was sold to Çaykur Rizespor.
Korkut got off to a brilliant start his first league game in charge saw Hannover defeat Wolfsburg 3-1, Rudņevs was able to get on the score sheet and Bittencourt secured the win with his impressive brace. The fantastic performance against Wolfsburg continued into the next game against Borussia Monchengladbach, once again Hannover won 3-1. Again Rudņevs opened the scoring and then a thrilling last ten minutes saw Diouf make it 2-0 before Mlapa quickly pulled a goal back for the visitors and then in the 90th minute Diouf grabbed his second to secure the win. The next three games saw them lose to Schalke, Mainz and Bayern Munich before two 1-1 draws against Augsburg and Bayer Leverkusen. The poor run was then ended after a 3-0 win against Hertha BSC, however didn’t spark a turn around in form as Hannover went on to lose four on the trot, the worst of which was a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Eintracht Braunschweig, a result like that against their rivals certainly didn’t go down too well. After that defeat Hannover sat in 13th place just three points away from an automatic relegation spot and only five games left of the season. The disappointment of a derby day loss sparked Hannover into life, they won four of their last five games and they also managed a goalless draw at home to Stuttgart.
As stated earlier it was an up and down season for Hannover but things are looking better under Korkut’s guidance and things are looking promising for Hannover. Next season Korkut will be able to have his first pre-season with his squad and again there’s no European football for Hannover, something which should help them next season.
Player of the Season
There’s only one player this can go to and that’s the Hungarian midfielder Szabolcs Huszti. He’s arguably the best player in this Hannover squad and after an impressive 2012/13 season he was able to follow it up with yet another impressive campaign. This season Huszti finished at the top of the club’s goalscoring chart with ten Bundesliga goals and one in the cup. Huszti also finished top of the club’s assists charts, setting up seven goals in the league, his team mates certainly putting his creating ability to good use. The 31-year-old has played in a number of positions this season and you can expect much of the same next season and there will be no surprises if this time next year he’ll be the player of the season again.
Article for VAVEL Bundesliga.