Saturday, May 16, 2009

96 devastated in Niedersachsenderby

On the heels of last weeks come from behind victory over KSC, Hannover 96 final home match of the year, the Niedersachsenderby against Wolfsburg ended in a 5-0 defeat. Difficult to watch at times, die Roten were never really in the match as the Wolfsburg plowed on the pressure throughout in order to add to their goal total given the title race could come down to tie-breakers.

Despite the sunny afternoon and the vocal capacity crowd, Wolfsburg's striking tandem of Edin Džeko and Grafite cut through weaknesses in 96's defending problems that have been compromised by injuries for all five goals. Dieter Hecking adjusted last weeks starting eleven to include Michael Tarnat and Frank Fahrenhorst, with the later making his final home appearance before joining MSV Duisburg this summer. After a confident opening ten minutes by 96, the day turned sour as Wolfsburg began to dominate. Unable to control Džeko, the Bosnian opened the scoring near the quarter-hour as he chested down Makoto Hasebe’s chip pass and sent the ball in from near the edge of the area. At the thirty-third minute Grafite out maneuvered Mario Eggimann to receive the ball from Džeko before firing in from the six yard box. That approach was duplicated a few minutes later as Grafite beat Vinícius before firing in Christian Gentner's cross. Mikael Forssell had a perfect chance to draw a goal back for 96 before the break as he broke free in on Diego Benaglio but the Wolfsburg goalkeeper could not be duped. Knowing the Bundesliga title could be decided on goal differential Wolfsburg poured gasoline on the fire and added two more goals after the break. First, six minutes before the hour Zvjezdan Misimović sent up a long cross that Džeko headed in and the Bosnian added his third at the seventy-ninth minute, flicking in Makoto Hasebe’s cross.

Not to be deterred 96's season is nearing conclusion as they travel to Bielefeld next week with great promise of next season when health issues are eliminated.