The second matchday of the Bundesliga began with a dour goalless draw between Hannover 96 and Borussia Dortmund.
Dortmund were a shadow of the side that put four past RB Leipzig on Sunday, although Marco Reus and Maximillian Philipp did hit the woodwork.
Hannover will have been more than happy with the point, as they kept a first clean sheet since December 2017.
Reus chances light up dull first half
Hannover had started their season with a 1-1 draw with Werder Bremen. André Breitenreiter made two changes to the side that started that game – Miiko Albornoz and Iver Fossum replaced Matthias Ostrzolek and Pirmin Schwegler. Dortmund made just one change from their win against Leipzig. Christian Pulisic was out with a muscle problem, so Marius Wolf came in. Lucien Favre was looking to extend a personal record of ten wins in 14 meetings with Hannover.
The hosts did excellently to shut out Dortmund in the early stages, managing to keep them penned in the own half as well as controlling much of the possession. They couldn’t make the most of it, despite Ihlas Bebou and Linton Maina causing Dortmund’s veteran full-backs Lukasz Piszczek and Marcel Schmelzer no end of problems. They were struggling to get frontmen Niclas Füllkrug – who has just signed a new deal – and Takuma Asano involved in the game though.
Midway through the half, both sides began to have the odd half chance. Asano went wide, whilst Maina, picking up a cross from Albornoz, won a corner, from which he eventually struck over. As for Dortmund, Mahmoud Dahoud had a shot blocked and pop up before being claimed by Michael Esser, before Philipp put the ball into the net, but the flag was already up for offside against Marius Wolf. Wolf also had a chance on goal, but it was little trouble for Esser to claim.
Before half-time though, there would be two big chances for Reus. A defensive lapse from Waldemar Anton allowed him to run through on the end of a long ball. He looked to be Esser on his far side, but the goalkeeper managed to get a foot on it, with Wolf having been centre ready for a cross. Reus went it alone soon after as well, this time hitting the post.
Philipp hits post before Hannover denied penalty – but not a point
Breitenreiter brought on Bobby Wood for his Hannover league debut at the break, and he would have an effect. He couldn’t connect with an Albornoz cross but he did with a Maina one, putting it into the side netting. Maina was their most creative player, constantly looking to cross the ball in. He also cut the ball back for Fossum, whose effort was deflected.
Dortmund had been poor again early in the half, but a free-kick from Reus led to their next big opportunity. It came off a Hannover head, but Wolf picked up the ball on the left, crossed back in, and Philipp went for the head. He made contact, the ball then went off the head of Anton, and into the post. The two clashed heads as well, with the Dortmund man left with a bloody nose.
A good move could then have led to Reus finally putting them ahead. He started it, finding Dahoud, who found Wolf. His cross from the left was just ahead of Reus running into the box. They seemed to be running on empty after that, with Favre curiously waiting until the 79th minute to make his first chance, replacing Philipp with Jadon Sancho.
Hannover could have had a penalty. A Fossum corner was knocked on by Bebou to Anton, who volleyed wide. There was a deflection off what looked like the hand of Thomas Delaney. Felix Zwayer was clearly in communication with the VAR, but no formal review was called. That was the last major incident of the match, with Hannover hanging on for a valuable point.