A penalty converted by Niclas Füllkrug earned Hannover 96 a point at home to VfB Stuttgart in the Friday night contest between the Bundesliga’s two promoted sides.
Takuma Asano had given the visitors the lead in a first half which they had dominated, but Hannover recovered well, although Matthias Ostrzolek may have gone down a little easily for the penalty that led to the equaliser.
The point will boost Hannover’s confidence after they were humbled by Werder Bremen last weekend, whilst for Stuttgart it is their first point on the road this season.
Asano makes most of poor goalkeeping from Tschauner
Hannover were surprisingly beaten 4-0 by Bremen on Sunday, with André Breitenreiter responding with five changes, recalling Philipp Tschauner, Julian Korb, Waldemar Anton, Ostrzolek and Ihlas Bebou. Stuttgart on the other hand had beaten Borussia Dortmund, but the injured duo of Chadrac Akolo and Daniel Ginczek had to be replaced by Asano and Josip Brekalo.
An early mistake by Holger Badstuber led to a chance for Martin Harnik, but after struggling to control the ball he shot straight at Ron-Robert Zieler, both players in action early on against their former clubs. Otherwise the visitors slowly began to take control, with a strike from Asano saved by Tschauner before Brekalo headed wide.
By the time Stuttgart went ahead they were good value for their lead. Referee Christian Dingert played an advantage for a foul, with Christian Gentner taking up the loose ball and striking from distance. Tschauner got in the way of it but he didn’t hold on to the ball, and the rebound went straight to Asano, who made the goalkeeper pay for his error.
Tschauner redeemed himself with a good save afterwards. Berkay Özcan and Asano combined, with the former’s shot kept out by the Hannover keeper. The hosts started to improve as the half wore on though, with a Felix Klaus free-kick put out by Zieler, then after back-to-back corners Stuttgart survived a scramble in the box, with Anton having an effort kept out by Zieler.
Füllkrug converts contentious penalty for a point
Hannover started the second half brightly as well. Ostrzolek wasted a good opportunity, however substitute Füllkrug, who came on at the break for the ineffective Harnik, was a little closer despite still putting Klaus’s cross wide.
Hannover centre-back Salif Sané had had a poor game against Bremen five days earlier, but things were going a lot better for him at both ends of the pitch here. He had the best chance yet just after the hour, receiving the ball in the box from Füllkrug, with his shot going off the post.
Their momentum appeared to be on the wane, until a controversial moment. Füllkrug may have been fouled by Badstuber just inside the box, before Pavard was penalised for a foul on Ostrzolek, although he seemed to fall into the leg of Pavard who had already gotten the ball. Dingert pointed to the spot and did not consult VAR. Füllkrug took full advantage, firing in the penalty to bring Hannover level.
Neither side would have enough in them to find a winner, perhaps they were both prepared to take the point. Dennis Aogo came closest, for Stuttgart, but after chesting the ball down he fell as he tried to hit it and the effort went wide. The draw was about right in the end, whilst Stuttgart will be happy to win their first away point of the season at seventh attempt. They also move up to tenth in the table, with Hannover staying in eighth.