More midweek action from Germany gave us a break from the Bundesliga as the DFB Pokal arrived back in town. Unfortunately for Darmstadt and Hannover they weren’t given an easier tie as the two meet on Tuesday night.
Both teams went into cup action on the back of defeats on the weekend and they were both looking to bounce back and increase their confidence ahead of some important games approaching. Darmstadt frustrated Wolfsburg on Saturday but unluckily conceded late to have a deserved point ripped away from them, as for Hannover they fell short against a struggling Eintracht Frankfurt side that picked up their first win in five games.
The game had an early effort on goal as Felix Klaus brought down Marcel Heller thirty yards from goal. Tobias Kempe was on the freekick and although it forced Robert Zieler into action it was a very comfortable save for the Hannover keeper.
Chances were hard to come by in the first half as Darmstadt were their usual selves in staying compact, playing long balls and looking to exploit the wings. This really troubled Hannover who were dealing with the aerial balls well, unfortunately they were struggled to create chances themselves.
The best chance of the first half went the way of the home side before the twenty minute mark and it was taken brilliantly. The shining star of Darmstadt Heller provided a great cross from the right and Jan Rosenthal produced a quality header from five yards out’ The effort looked to be flying in, however Zieler had other ideas as he clawed the ball out for a corner.
Both sides showed they wanted to go through as both sets of players on a number of occasions put in heavy tackles and tempers flared up more than once. Firstly it was Heller and Christian Schulz, then it was Aytac Sulu having a few words with Mevlüt Erdinç.
Die Lilien had a penalty appeal turned down on the half hour mark, the ball was played into Rosenthal and after a lovely flick over he was blocked off by Felipe and Schulz.
Hannover were showing signs of frustration towards the break and that could play into Darmstadt’s hands. The away side failed to create a clear chance in the first half, in the second they would need to produce much more going forward if they were to see off Darmstadt.
It didn’t take too long for Hannover to get a shot off in the second half and they almost scored. Manuel Schmiedebach crossed towards the back post and he managed to find Miiko Albornoz and the left back dived at the ball and from a tight angle would’ve scored had Christian Mathenia not reacted as quickly as he did.
Once more tempers went over the edge after the first five minutes of the half. A freekick saw Mathenia drop the ball and Felipe fell to the floor as he went for the ball, sadly he was looking to win a penalty from Sulu and Darmstadt weren’t happy one bit as both teams argued.
Darmstadt struggled to get going in the second half and it took them till the hour mark before they created an opportunity. Rosenthal picked up the ball just outside the area and after delaying his shot he finally let the ball fly, fortunately for Hannover the strike flew well wide.
Rosenthal was in thick of the action soon after as he had another half chance, the increasingly impressive Kempe burst down the left and whipped in a brilliant ball across goal, Rosenthal however was just too small as it flashed just over his head.
The deadlock between the two sides was finally broken with fifteen minutes remaining. Kempe delivered a freekick into the area and Sandro Wagner produced a brilliant flick on which saw Zieler flick the ball onto the post and thanks to the ball bouncing out to the other side of the goal Sulu was there to tap into the empty net.
The joy was short lived for the hosts as straight from kick off Hiroki Sakai played a long ball forward and substitute Artur Sobiech raced onto the ball and managed to lift the ball over the oncoming Mathenia and into the net.
Darmstadt fans could celebrate once more as three minutes after losing their lead Darmstadt regained it. Kempe swung in a corner which flew all the ball through and across the six yard box where Wagner broke away from his marker to chest the ball across the line.
Hannover pushed for an equaliser but failed to find that killer pass to create a goalscoring opportunity. The host’s managed to see out the win and are through to the next round. It was an even match up with plenty of fouls that destroyed the rhythm of the game and in the end the team with the more accurate shots edged out the victory.
The next match for Darmstadt see them travel to Stuttgart on Sunday, while Hannover need to pick up results quickly and they need to start with a win against Hamburg in Sunday’s late game.
Article for VAVEL Bundesliga.