0-1, Wurtz 16'. 1-1, Harnik 45'. 2-1, Harnik 63'.
Hannover 96 2-1 VfL Bochum: Harnik brace helps Hannover stay second
Image credit: Bundesliga.de

Hannover 96 2-1 VfL Bochum: Harnik brace helps Hannover stay second

It was a exciting game from start to finish, though Hannover just about edged it.

Jonathan Walsh
Hannover 96(4-4-2) Tschauner; Sorg, Anton, Sané, Prib; Sarenren Bazee (Karaman 83'), Bakalorz, Schmiedebach, Klaus; Harnik, Sobiech (Füllkrug 86').
VfL Bochum(4-2-3-1) Riemann; Gyamerah (Merkel 61'), Hoogland, Bastians, Rieble; Losilla, Stiepermann (Wydra 75'); Gündüz (Saglam 74'), Wurtz, Quaschner; Mlapa.
REFEREETobias Stieler (Hamburg). Booked: Schmiedebach (61'), Losilla (67'), Prib (88'), Hoogland (90+2').
INCIDENTSHarnik misses penalty, 73'.

Martin Harnik's brace was enough to overcome Johannes Wurtz's opener as Hannover 96 beat VfL Bochum 2-1, yet it was debatable decisions that grabbed the headlines.

Team news

Following their dramatic 2-1 DFB-Pokal defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt in midweek, Daniel Stendel opted for two alterations to that side. Samuel Sahin-Radlinger and Kenan Karaman both dropped to the bench as Philipp Tschauner and Artur Sobiech came into the team.

Bochum, who drew 1-1 with Karlsruher SC last weekend, made just one change from their starting line-up. Gertjan Verbeek had to do without the injured Tom Weilandt, with Selim Gündüz coming in on the right wing.

Wurtz and Harnik trade blows

The opening 10 minutes of the contest were tight and tense, with neither side creating a meaningful chance. Hannover were finding it difficult to break down a deep Bochum defence while the visitors tired to make headway down the right. Jan Gyamerah's cross was cut-back for the oncoming runners, though the ball was blazed over the bar.

However, just moments after Marco Stiepermann had rattled the crossbar from 20 yards, Bochum took the lead. A raking pass found Gündüz on the edge of the Hannover defence, before he curled the ball through the home back-line to Wurtz. He ran through unopposed on goal, before calmly slotting past Tschauner.

Peniel Mlapa then had a chance to further extend that leg and despite nutmegging Tschauner, the angle was too tight and the ball trickled wide. That sparked a response from the home side and Martin Harnik almost found a leveller but Manuel Riemann, on his 100th 2. Bundesliga appearance, saved with his legs.

From there, the game went forward and back and end to end. Nils Quaschner felt he should have had a free-kick when bumped into by the retreating Hannover defence. Marvin Bakalorz, on the other hand, had a fine shot tipped over by Riemann, with Noah Joel Sarenren Bazee heading narrowly over from the resulting corner.

For Hannover's pressure there would be a reward, as they got back on level terms before the break. A driving run from Sarenren Bazee left Gyamerah always struggling to make up ground, and his cross was perfect for Harnik to swivel and curl past Riemann from 10 yards into the top corner in style.

Image credit: Bundesliga.de
Image credit: Bundesliga.de

Stieler the centre of second half attention

The second half began in very similar fashion to the first, with the opening exchanges offering little in the way of clear-cut opportunities. Half chances were created yet neither side could make much of them.

As Alexander Merkel replaced a tired Gyamerah, Hannover managed to get themselves in front. Merkel was deemed the guilty part by Tobias Stieler as Egdar Prib tumbled in the area. A small amount of contact proved worthy of a penalty and Harnik didn't pass up the chance to grab his brace, sending Riemann the wrong way from the spot.

Where there was one there would be two, and a second penalty followed for the hosts. This time it was Anthony Losilla who upended Sarenren Bazee, but Bochum were handed a second chance as the Austrian sent it wide and missed the opportunity to grab his hat-trick.

Felix Klaus came close to adding that third goal on two separate occasions, with Riemann there to deny both attempts. The game looked to be gone for the visitors yet they continued to battle forward and had two hand-ball appeals turned down for what looked to be clear-cut incidents regarding Waldemar Anton and Salif Sané.

Verbeek's side continued to push hard for an equaliser yet failed to find the goal they needed. It means Bochum drop to 13th, just six points from the relegation zone. As for Hannover, they hold onto second spot and are now two points clear of Eintracht Braunschweig.