Hannover 96 came from behind to beat Würzburger Kickers 3-1 in the first ever meeting between the two sides. But that only tells half the story, with Samuel Sahin-Radlinger saving a controversial penalty in added time.
Elia Soriano had given Würzburg the lead over a flat Hannover in the first half, but they rebounded after half time with goals from Martin Harnik and Felix Klaus.
Sahin-Radlinger then saved the spot kick from Richard Weil, with Harnik making the most of Würzburg 'keeper Robert Wulnikowski going up for a corner to add gloss to the final score line.
Fifth versus sixth
With the top seven of the 2. Bundesliga incredibly tight, these sides came into the game in sixth and seventh respectively. For Hannover, despite only being a point of the top three, that was a disappointment, but newly-promoted Würzburg have adapted brilliantly to the second tier.
As a result, Daniel Stendel named ten of the eleven players that started that game, with only Waldemar Anton returning, in place of Fynn Arkenberg, having missed that game with suspension. Philipp Tschauner was on the bench as he recovers from a muscle injury, with Sahin-Radlinger kept keeping his place in goal.
Würzburg had lost to Karlsruher SC last weekend, but that was only a third defeat of the season. They lost on penalties to 1860 Munich in midweek. They made three changes, with Wulnikowski back in goal for Jörg Siebenhandl, Soriano recalled in place of Marco Königs, and Anastasios Lagos in for Tobias Schröck, who was carrying a knock.
Soriano goal gives Würzburg the edge
Neither side began the first half particularly well, with few chances to begin with. It was not until halfway through the half when Soriano gave his side the lead. He was involved in the build-up, finding Patrick Weihrauch who held the ball up for Peter Kurzweg. The defender crossed into the box and there was Soriano to put it away.
Hannover came closest to equalise through Marvin Bakalorz, with his shot from distance just kept out by Wulnikowski. However otherwise thy toiled up front, unable to break through Würzburg’s stubborn defence. The early introduction of Kenan Karaman, for Sebastian Maier, made little difference either.
The visitors had a chance themselves to make it two just before half time, however Rico Benatelli shot wide.
Hannover come to life
Hannover began to improve in the second half, and Klaus went close ten minutes after the resumption. He chested down a header from Harnik, but his shot deflected out via Sebastian Neumann.
They got back in the game soon after though. A stray foot from Júnior Díaz brought down Anton in the box, and Harnik sent Wulnikowski the wrong way to equalise from the spot.
The hosts then took the lead. Edgar Prib found Karaman, but as he was surrounded he couldn’t do anything with the ball. It fell loose though, and Klaus was the first to it, thumping it into the back of the net.
An excellent tackle from Neumann denied Harnik a third from a Hannover break, however Würzburg had their chances too, with substitute Valdet Rama having a shot blocked by Stefan Strandberg. And Soriano would surely have scored if he had connected with a cross form Rama.
Controversial penalty sparks manic end to game
Hannover looked set for the win, but in stoppage time Würzburg were awarded a penalty. Sahin-Radlinger cleanly punched away a ball into the box but went into Weihrauch in his follow-through, and for the referee that was enough to point to the spot.
Hannover were enraged, but from their point of view, justice was done. Sahin-Radlinger was able to scramble Weil’s penalty away, whilst Rama was unable to divert the rebound in.
Sahin-Radlinger then came to the rescue again. Weil had one last chance for Würzburg, but the keeper kept it out. Wulnikowski came up for the resulting corner, but Hannover quickly cleared and countered. Iver Fossum booted the ball forward to Harnik, who had an empty net in which to place his second goal of the game.
In addition to the three points, that goal was enough to push Hannover above Union Berlin into third place on goal difference, two points behind VfB Stuttgart and a further three behind their Lower Saxony rivals Eintracht Braunschweig, who they meet in a week’s time.