Hannover embarked on a 17-minute goal blitz on Sunday despite a continuing saga over Mirko Slomka’s contract
It’s half time at the Mercedes-Benz Arena early on Sunday evening. Stuttgart lead by two goals to nil having been in control for nearly the whole of the first half. The away side, Hannover, have been particularly limp thus far. Coach Mirko Slomka needs something special to turn around this deficit, especially with his side’s recent record away from home. “The 96” only won twice on the road last season but had already been victorious away once this year, beating Lower Saxony rivals Wolfsburg 4-0.
That day Szabolcs Huszti set up all four goals. The Hungarian has undoubtedly been Hannover’s star man this season. No player has more assists in the Bundesliga but on Sunday, he was having a shocker. Shackled effectively by Stuttgart’s Zdravko Kuzmanovic, the diminutive playmaker was struggling to have an impact. To make matters worse, he gave away the penalty which led to the Swabians second goal.
Mirko Slomka’s seen enough. Huszti comes off at half time with Jan Schlaudraff replacing him. Now, if you’d said in September that Hannover would be able to mount a comeback from two down without Huszti, you would have been afforded a patronising expression. On Sunday though, Mirko Slomka’s side learnt to fly without this season’s talisman. Looking at the attacking talent Hannover have at their disposal, that’s not too surprising. The manner in which they did it was.
Three minutes from the hour, Artur Sobiech capitalised on Sven Ulreich’s parry to halve the deficit, as the Pole set in motion a 17-minute blitz. Seven minutes later came a penalty, which substitute Jan Schlaudraff stroked into the top corner and Hannover President Martin Kind revealed after the game that he would have been happy with a draw. Thankfully for him, the players weren’t.
Just over two minutes later, Hannover led for the first time as another substitute, Mohamed Abdellaoue prodded home. After more clumsy defending from Stuttgart, the man nicknamed “Moa” added a fourth from the penalty spot as the Norwegian completed a most remarkable turnaround – 4-2 to Hannover.
Whilst it would be great to say it was all down to Hannover’s brilliance, it was an equally spectacular implosion from hosts Stuttgart. Bruno Labbadia’s side suffered their first defeat in six and they certainly did it in some style. This was the first time the Swabians had lost after having a two goal lead in 457 Bundesliga games – a run that stretches back to 1999. This result shouldn’t derail their season but uncertainty will remain so long as the contract situation of Coach Bruno Labbadia is unresolved, with his contract expiring at the end of the season.
That situation is mirrored in Hannover where Mirko Slomka is yet to agree terms with the 96. According to Kicker, contract talks have been put on hold until the winter break and Slomka has until the 20th December to decide if he wants to stay in Lower Saxony or move on to pastures new.
After Sunday’s showing, Slomka said the contract is not ready to be signed but with Hannover performing well under his guidance, the club will be keen to keep him. There have been rumours of fall outs with general manager Jorg Schmadtke but Hannover has reached new heights with the Slomka/Schmadtke combination. Reports have linked Slomka with Bayern Munich, such has been his success in Lower Saxony. The Stuttgart result has put them within two points of the top four and in turn a Champions League spot. That’s the aim for ambitious Hannover and they’ll have a better chance of achieving that if Mirko Slomka stays with them.
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Eleswhere in the Bundesliga
Matchday 11 Results:
Mainz 2-1 Nuremberg
Augsburg 1-3 Borussia Dortmund
Bayern Munich 2-0 Eintracht Frankfurt
Fortuna Düsseldorf 1-1 Hoffenheim
Freiburg 0-0 Hamburg
Schalke 2-1 Werder Bremen
Wolfsburg 3-1 Bayer Leverkusen
Fürth 2-4 Gladbach
Stuttgart 2-4 Hannover
|1||FC Bayern Munich||11||10||0||1||32:4||+28||30||CL*|
|2||FC Schalke 04||11||7||2||2||22:12||+10||23||CL*|
|4||Borussia Dortmund||11||5||4||2||23:12||+11||19||CL* Qual.|
|5||Bayer 04 Leverkusen||11||5||3||3||19:17||+2||18||EL* Qual.|
|6||Hannover 96||11||5||2||4||24:18||+6||17||EL* Qual.|
|7||1. FSV Mainz 05||11||5||2||4||15:13||+2||17|
|9||SV Werder Bremen||11||4||2||5||18:17||+1||14|
|15||1. FC Nuremberg||11||3||2||6||9:17||-8||11|
Table from official Bundesliga Website