Discussion in 'TSL: Club Pages' started by rschwep, Oct 4, 2012.
H A N N O V E R .... 9 6
Starting Lineup - Opening Day Formation: 4-3-1-2 Zieler Cherundolo - Haggui - Eggimann - Pander Stindl - Pinto - Huszti Schlaudraff Ya Konan - Abdellaoue Likely subs: Diouf (ST), Schmiedebach (MID) ~Season Preamble "A new year of FIFA, a new side to manage, as I head to Lower Saxony to take charge of Die Roten, the Reds of Hannover 96. An intriguing side that differs in philosophy from any side I've ever managed. Köln went through Podolski, Gladbach went through Reus, but here, I have a true team outlook. I expect balanced scoring and defending, with an emphasis on control and team play. We will make use of substitutions often, and will definitely be open to formational changes as the season progresses. I love the look of our midfield and our strike force, With four strikers rated 77 or higher, the challenge will be to optimize their usage and make sure they all can contribute. Right now, I prefer playing three at the start, with Jan Schlaudraff slightly behind Didier Ya Konan and Mohammed Abdellaoue. Mame Diouf comes in late, with his blazing speed, we're hoping he can take advantage of tired legs. Behind, the rock solid midfield is led by Szabolcs Huszti, an excellent assist man and distributor. Our backline is a work in progress, but American captain Steve Cherundolo has been here for ages, and free kick specialist Christian Pander will be relied upon to create chances. Ron-Robert Zieler has international experience, and we need him to be huge for us."
Matchweek 1 Hannover 96 2 - 2 Anzhi S. Eto'o 26' Y. Zhirkov 45' Joao Carlos M. Abdellaoue 49' S. Cherundolo 86' L. Stindl "Ein guter Anfang der Saison und eine gute Antwort auf Widrigkeiten."
Hannover 96 began season seven optimistic for a bright year behind new manager rschwep, an import from Gladbach by way of Köln, who has shown steady results throughout his previous four tours of duty in the TFS. "In your first game with a new club, you're of course always anxious to show the fans and upper management what you can do. This was an exciting home test to start a season. We are full of optimism here at Hannover."
The excitement the manager spoke of was welcoming superstar Samuel Eto'o and Anzhi to the AWD-Arena. Managed by shiftee , Anzhi's attack was one of the preseason talks of the TFS. "We knew we would be in for a tough defensive challenge, and we sure saw that in the first half."
Indeed, the game was up-and-down action, Eto'o's speed on display for many fine moments. The Cameroonian would tap home the first goal of the game after poking the ball away from Mario Eggimann in the box. "A poor display from Mario," said the Hannover manager. "We need to be more aware of the situation and make sure we clear the ball in distress." Anzhi would make it two just before half on a stunning strike from distance off the boot of Yuri Zhirkov. "Simply undefendable," remarked the manager.
At halftime, down by two, rschwep delivered his first big managerial move of the campaign: breaking from the initial 4-3-1-2 and going to a 4-3-3 setup, taking off defensive midfielder Sergio da Silva Pinto and replacing him with the speedster Mame Diouf. The formation change would have immediate benefits, as Mohammed Abdellaoue would score from a rebound just minutes into the half.
Hannover pushed for the equalizer for the remainder of the half, and the game opened up as a result. Back-and-forth action was the norm, and several close chances were missed by both sides. In the end, captain Steve Cherundolo would net on an unlikely header just before the final whistle, salvaging a point for Hannover. The cross was excellent by Lars Stindl, who converted on 24/27 passes on the occasion.
"Well deserved for both sides, I thought," said rschwep. "As shiftee remarked to me post-match, a true tale of two halves. The halftime adjustments we made were well worth it. Anzhi could have easily tacked on an insurance goal, as we were definitely scrambling on a few counter-attack attempts by the Russians. Overall, a solid one point, as our first half performance certainly had me believing we would leave with less today."
Steve Cherundolo converts an unlikely header to save one point for Die Roten
Matchweek 3 Bordeaux 2 - 1 Hannover 96 L. Obraniak 48' D. Ya Konan 74' K. Haggui L. Obraniak 76' C. Diabate "Das gleiche defensive Problem kostet uns wieder, und wir verbessern müssen." Hannover 96 continued their campaign away to Bordeaux and old rival Broncos218 -- the first clash between the two managers that did not see the former double winner take charge of Werder Bremen. "No matter the team, or the country, you can expect flawless play from a Broncos-led team. His fundamentals are so good and you simply cannot make mistakes." Hannover would come to learn the meaning of those words as three vital mistakes led to their first loss of the year, and a 0-1-1 start to the season, as they fell 2-1 away to the French side. The first half was a relatively droll affair, a slowed-down, possession styled game that led to no major scoring chances--save a penalty taken and missed by Szabolcs Huszti. "Huszti hit it well, but the keeper dove the right way--that's football." Hannover missed the chance to go up 1-0 and would instead have to settle for a scoreless first half. Bordeaux would take the lead just after the break on a very similar goal to that scored by Samuel Eto'o in the Hannover season opener--a failure to properly clear the ball led to an opportunistic challenge and simple finish by Obraniak just in front of goal. "We need to stop being cute and clear the ball when we're in tight near our own goal. It's that simple," said the frustrated manager. Immediately following the marker, rschwep again switched to a 4-3-3 attack, bringing on Diouf for Pinto. Hannover was able to keep the ball, and finished the match with 54% possession (after recording 55% in their first fixture), but could not consistently generate quality chances. "Possession is useless if you cannot create from it," said the manager. Ultimately, Didier Ya Konan was able to snipe a tight finish to bring his side level. "A phenomenal individual effort. We needed that. What we didn't need was the immediate response by Bordeaux," said rschwep, referring to Obraniak scoring his second virtual seconds after Ya Konan's marker. "We fell asleep at the switch; perhaps we were too complacent. Regardless, it's one point poorly given away, and with our possession and overall control of the match at times, I would have liked to see us make a stronger push for three." Hannover's last ditch efforts to tie the game again were fruitless, and the Germans dropped all three points on this affair. "Disappointing. I thought we played well and dictated large portions of the match. Unfortunately, it's not enough to possess and pass the ball around near the opponent's goal--we need to generate shots and scoring opportunities."
Matchweek 2 Parma 3 - 3 Hannover 96 M. Abdellaoue 20' S. Huszti G. Paletta 45' Amauri 61'J. ValdezL. Stindl 76' M. Diouf S. Ninis 86' M. Abdellaoue 90' S. Huszti "Ein enttäuschender Start fortgesetzt. Defensiv schrecklich, ein weiterer schrecklich Elfmeter."
Hannover 96 traveled to Parma to take on manager heznfire as part of the new Serie A manager's first tour of duty in the top flight. No one could have predicted the affair that resulted: a wild, 3-3 draw, featuring tons of missed chances, beautiful strikes, and ominiously, another missed penalty by Die Roten.
The first half was completely wide open, mostly tilted in favor of the Italians, but Ron-Robert Zieler came up huge for his team, saving chance after chance, including several clear breakaways. Unexpectedly, Mohammed Abdellaoue struck first for the Germans with an incredible outside-of-his-foot strike from 20 yards out, perfectly placed into the corner of the net. Only a naive onlooker could have expected that goal to hold up, as Parma peppered Zieler and the shoddy Hannover defense with chance after chance. Finally, they would break through on a corner, when Christian Pander's clearing attempt fell right to the foot of G. Paletta, who volleyed past Zieler for a wonder goal of his own.
At halftime, rschwep brought on substitute dynamo Mame Diouf, who would earn a penalty chance but miss after his manager unfortunately mashed buttons to skip through a cut scene a bit too eagerly. "What can you say--that's virtual football. Clearly we were too impatient. Unfortunately, it goes down as our second missed penalty chance in two games. Do the math--we make both penalties, we tie Bordeaux, and we win today. I know the match may have flowed differently, but leaving two easy goals on the table in this highly competitive league is simply unacceptable."
Diouf's folly was not the biggest problem for Hannover on this day, as Parma's speed up top proved to be too much for Die Roten's defense. Finally, Zieler was beaten on a clear chance, as Amauri scored on a breakaway. "Our proclivity to allowing free rushes was going to eventually cost us--that much is clear. Zieler was left out to dry many a time tonight. Truthfully, one of the best three-goals-allowed performances I've ever seen," said rschwep. Hannover drew level in the 76th when Diouf ripped a centering pass to Stindl, who performed an excellent first touch and rifled past the Parma keeper.
Naturally, the game still had two goals left in it - an 86th minute marker from S. Ninis, setting the stage for Abdellaoue to draw level again in the 90th, putting home a rebound and saving one point for Hannover. "Once again, we partially beat ourselves tonight. Two points from a possible nine is unacceptable. Seven goals allowed in three games is too many. We have a cup match vs. LAC27 upcoming that we must now focus on. Our focus will be on team defense, not overpursuing the ball, and continuing to take our chances as we have been doing."
Abdellaoue nets at the very last to save a point for Hannover
Cup - Group Stage - Match 1 I. Porto Alegre 1 - 2 Hannover 96 A. D'Alessandro 5' J. Schlaudraff 60' L. Stindl 90' A. Sobiech "Schrecklich Schießen fast kostete uns drei wertvolle Punkte, aber dennoch ist es unser erster Sieg in dieser Saison." Hannover 96 opened up their cup schedule with an intercontinental flight to Brazil to face LAC27, Diego Forlan, and the high powered I. Porto Alegre squad. The match would prove important for Hannover not only to get off to a solid start in the Cup, but also to right the ship after two draws and a loss in the league. "Certainly you want to win every match you play, but this club really needed a win for morale. We need to get something going," said the German manager. A win his club would attain, but it did not come easily - a 2-1 victory requiring 90th minute heroics despite outshooting Porto Alegre 20-4. LAC27 stunned rschwep with a majestic strike to go up just five minutes in. D'Alessandro intercepted a Christian Pander pass, then fought off the strong outside back for the length of the pitch before rifling an absolute missile upper 90, far post for the early lead. "I'd be lying if I didn't say we were a bit stunned by that goal. Remarkable display by D'Alessandro. My most important objective was not to get rattled beyond repair. I wanted to stick to our game plan and almost pretend as if the goal never happened." Hannover responded well to the tune of chance after chance, but they lacked their finishing boots. Porto Alegre keeper Muriel would make 10 saves in the match, many coming in a first half flurry following the goal, including a post and several post-skimmers for Die Roten. Remarkably, the halftime whistle would blow with the German side down 1-0. "Certainly we need to finish better than that, but football is 90 minutes for a reason," said the manager. Indeed, following the insertion of Mame Diouf and the resultant formation change, Jan Schlaudraff would equalize at the hour-mark with a near little individual effort inside the box, cooly slotting far post from about eight yards out. Hannover continued to press for the winner, desperately wanting three points, and for a while it looked as if it may not come. "I was getting worried. With each missed chance, my frustration grew larger," said the manager. After a last-gasp 80th minute formation change to a three-man back line, little used substitute Artur Sobiech would provide the spark, cutting through the box and crossing deftly to Lars Stindl at the very last for the match-winner. A phenomenal bend-but-don't-break effort by I. Porto Alegre nevertheless left them empty-handed, as Hannover took all three points. "A massive goal at a time when this club needed it. I truly believe that could be the goal to get our season going."
Sobiech crosses to Stindl for the match-winner at the very last.
Matchweek 4 Hannover 96 4 - 0 Sunderland L. Stindl 15' L. Stindl 17' L. Stindl 45' S. da Silva Pinto M. Diouf 73' L. Stindl CS R. Zieler "Eine komplette, effiziente Anstrengungen, ich bin stolz auf meine Mannschaft heute Abend!"
Hannover 96 resumed league play at the AWD-Arena to HokieNYC and a Sunderland squad off to a strong 2-1-0 start to the season, including an 8-4 drubbing of Stoke City, a match played just before this one kicked off. "We were doing a bit of scoreboard watching as we waited for our opponent, and we saw the goals rack up. It heightened our focus, for sure," said manager rschwep, moments after his team completed their finest 90 minutes of the season, shutting out the very side that scored eight just prior, while earning Ron-Robert Zieler his first clean sheet thanks to a phenomenal three goal, one assist performance from Lars Stindl.
Stindl began the scoring in the 15th off of a failed clearance by Sunderland. The ball was chopped out to Stindl, who recovered and ripped a shot top corner on a half-volley. "What a shot by Lars! Certainly he was feeling it tonight, and you can see by the technique there that when he gets it going from the defensive midfield, we have the opportunity to do some special things." Stindl made it two when Didier Ya Konan was poked free of the ball on a mini-breakaway--but the poke went right to the foot of Stindl, who converted off of the opportunistic run.
Lars finished his hat trick just before the halftime whistle, this time receiving a pass from his own player, Sergio da Silva Pinto, followed by a skillful cut through the box and a half-sidestep to beat the keeper and slot from a tight angle. "Another phenomenal goal, and a hat trick before halftime is certainly a noteworthy accomplishment," said the overjoyed manager.
At the half, rschwep dropped back into a 5-4-1 formation, but brought on speedster Mame Diouf to provide counter-attack opportunities up top. Indeed, Diouf would provide further insurance, when (who else?) Stindl worked a 2-on-1 with the hitman, passing across the box to a wide open Diouf. His initial shot was saved, but the rebound deflected to his midsection, and his first touch was too strong for further control, but strong enough to bounce directly into the net. Diouf's marker gave Stindl the four-point evening, and more importantly, three points for Hannover.
"Our first league win, it's a good feeling. But we must not become complacent," warned the manager. "Every game is a difficult game and we must not trick ourselves into thinking wins will come easily. We must build on this game, without question, but the next match resets at 0-0 and we must be ready."
Top L: Lars Stindl volleys home off of a poor clearance for the game's first. Top R: Stindl converts from an opportunistic defensive toe poke. Bottom: Mame Diouf's first touch is poor, but directs the ball into the net anyway.
Matchweek 5 Udinese 1 - 4 Hannover 96 G. Pinzi 2' L. Muriel D. Ya Konan 24' K. Haggui D. Ya Konan 41' S. Cherundolo S. da Silva Pinto 44' M. Abdellaoue M. Diouf 84' "Was für eine Aussage haben wir heute Abend!" Hannover 96 traveled to Italy for a much anticipated duel with defending league champion Friz and his new Udinese side. "We look forward to playing the best, because we can use these games as benchmarks of our ability. With each match, each day in fact, our goal is to get better, Hol besser! This match affirmed my belief that we are ready to win," said rschwep, moments after his side shocked Udinese with a 4-1 victory, scoring four for the second consecutive match, and in fact responding to a second minute goal by the Italians that set Hannover back early.
Indeed, Pinzi put Udinese up with the first shot of the game after the Hannover back line lost its shape, allowing the midfielder to sneak in along the wing and slot beautifully from a Muriel pass. "That goal may be the turning point of our season," said rschwep. "By that, I mean this: we had just won 4-0, and we were stunned early on in a match against an elite opponent. It would have been very easy to write the last match off as a fluke, and go on to defeat here. But we buckled down and played an even better 88 minutes than we did against Sunderland."
Didier Ya Konan set things level when he used his speed to break away and score while nearly falling in the 24th. He put Hannover ahead for good in the 41st when he ripped a far post laser from outside the box. Udinese received a horrible break when Sergio Pinto's shot from distance was deflected by a defender, allowing it to slowly dribble in as the keeper was fooled by the change in direction. That marker put the Germans up 3-1 at halftime, a lead which they would never relinquish.
Indeed, Mame Diouf came in as per his usual second half substitution, and scored for the second straight match, heading home a fourth and sealing a massive victory for Hannover, who not only scored four but truly played well in the affair. "You look at the statsheet, areas in which we normally lag behind, we were able to reverse that tonight," said the manager, certainly referring to shots (18  to 13 ), possession (51% to 49%), and passing accuracy (85% to 81%). "Even in matches that we have won before, we have lagged behind in shots especially. Look at the Sunderland match, for example. This match, with the exception of the early defensive lapse, was a phenomenal effort. I'm glad to see us build on the last match and I'm even happier to see the response after the first goal--all against the defending champion. We will enjoy this one for sure, but we have more work to do!"
Top L: Didier Ya Konan races away to equalize Top R: Ya Konan bides time and rifles the go-ahead marker Bottom L: Pinto gets a fluky deflection that finds netting Bottom R: Diouf provides insurance off of a rebound
Cup - Group Stage - Match 2 Hannover 96 3 - 0 Galatasaray L. Stindl 33' S. Huszti S. Huszti 44' - pen M. Diouf 67' FelipeCS R. Zieler "Ein Spiel der Dreier: drei Punkte und drei aufeinanderfolgenden gut gespielt Spiele."
Hannover 96 looked to translate their recent league success over to the Cup, playing host to Serie C outfit Go Devils and Galatasaray. They made sure not to take the Turkish side lightly, however. "We're coming off of a cup where a second division side hoisted the trophy--I don't think you can take anyone in this league lightly, no matter the division," said the manager. In the end, the fine form of the German side was too much for Galatasaray, as Hannover won 3-0 to notch their fourth consecutive competitive win, with the last three all coming by at least three goals.
The match started off slowly as both sides felt the other out. Hannover controlled most of the possession, but couldn't turn that into any goals, until they won a corner and Lars Stindl headed home in the 33rd. Szabolcs Huszti provided the service on the set piece. A few minutes later, Hannover won a penalty, and Huszti ripped it top corner to make it two just before the whistle.
Once again, second-half dynamo Mame Diouf would make his appearance, and for the third straight match, he provided an insurance marker, this time spectacularly from distance. "Mame's impact on this team cannot be understated," said the manager. "He provides us with immense speed and size off the bench, and we really like using him in that second-half role. I think it's a great advantage to have such quality strikers, and his speed enables him to come in fresh and run around tired defenders for 30-45 minutes a match. I don't think it's a coincidence he's now scored in three straight games."
Following the Diouf goal, Hannover would drop into a five-man backline, and would play out the match, holding the 3-0 victory. "A fine result, and certainly it keeps this momentum going. We are in a good position in the group, but two difficult matches remain. If we keep playing like this, and stay within ourselves, we can achieve our goals."
Top L: Lars Stindl heads home the corner for the game's firstTop R: Szabolcs Huszti rips a penaltyBottom: Mame Diouf strikes from distance
Diouf goal... not sure what Muslera was doing there Go get 'em
Matchweek 6 Hannover 96 1 - 4 Sao Paolo Luis Fabiano 39' Ganso K. Haggui 45' S. Huszti Luis Fabiano 56' Jadson Luis Fabiano 58' Lucas Lucas 73' Luis Fabiano "Ein sehr leblos Aufwand, müssen wir uns auf Erhaltung Dynamik und immer unser Bestes geben, zu arbeiten."
Hannover 96 took to the pitch against Zikry and his Sao Paolo side after a bit of a layoff following their three-wins-in-one-night siege, and the manager was concerned that the break would hinder their momentum. Indeed, Die Roten looked about as flat as could be on this occasion, and were obliterated by the precision technique of the Brazilians, who possessed the ball with domination and played a near flawless game, passing to a 91% clip.
"In the course of a long season, you will of course have games like this," said the downtrodden manager. "Unfortunately, I was hoping that we would have shown some semblance of life. The football we witnessed from the opposition today, that is the exact model of football we need to play."
Poor in-box defending would lead to all four goals against for Hannover, as Sao Paolo scored three of them off turning shots, requiring one touch to get around the "statues" on defense, as the German manager said, while rifling home with ease. "Unacceptable defending. We must not get caught up in overpursuing. It is the exact issue which has hindered us in the past, and we were able to correct it so well in our previous three matches. Why it has returned, I am not certain, but rest assured we will work to get better from this experience."
The only bright spot for Hannover on this day was defender Karim Haggui heading home a Szabolcs Huszti corner in the 45th, bringing Die Roten level, but the manager never felt like his side was in it. "Despite the 1-1 score at half, I truly did not think we would have a chance. Our offense was lifeless, our defending bland. No urgency today. That is my mistake - rest assured I will be up for our next fixture and I will make sure the team will be as well. We may lose, but we should never lose like this. We need to show more fight and energy."
Cup - Group Stage - Match 3 Hannover 96 4 - 2 RCD Espanyol Baena 47' Simao Simao 51' Verdu S. Huszti 59' - pen J. Schlaudraff 64' M. Abdellaoue 67' M. Diouf 80' M. Abdellaoue "Eine wirklich beeindruckende zweiten Hälfte."
Hannover 96 had a few days off after their disappointing loss to Sao Paolo, but were eager to resume competition at home to Serie B outfit Roger and RCD Espanyol in the Cup. With the big cup fixture against Serie A opponent Stoke City upcoming, it was important for the Germans to take all three points here. The two managers had a bit of history as well, playing to an epic 5-3 extra time game in the knockout stages of last season's cup. "Who could forget that classic affair?" said rschwep. "Every time I play roger, it seems to be a game for the ages." This match was not quite as epic, but nevertheless a wild, turning affair, as Hannover took the three points by a 4-2 scoreline after falling behind 2-0.
The first half was dominated by the Germans, but nothing to show for it. A few chances required excellent saves, but the two sides went to the half 0-0. Hannover felt confident in their ability to keep pushing, and brought on Mame Diouf, as well as a switch to a 4-3-3 formation to hopefully find the finishing touch they lacked in the first. Unfortunately, the change had the opposite effect, as Espanyol struck for two quick goals on the first two shots of the half. "Simply stunning beginning to the half," said the manager. "I would have never predicted that, given how the first went. I felt like we were in total control, and then all of a sudden, we're down 2-0."
Hannover showed their resolve on this night, and clawed back. First, a dubious penalty decision was given, and Szabolcs Huszti ripped a shot that went crossbar down and in. Five minutes later, a remarkable individual effort by Jan Schlaudraff tied the game, as he slid in to tip home a deflected shot by Didier Ya Konan that went off the crossbar. Just three minutes after that, Mohammed Abdellaoue won the game for Die Roten on a turning shot in the box. Mame Diouf would add a late counter-attack insurance marker (as has been his custom lately) to seal a remarkable 4-2 comeback win.
"Another game that certainly tested our mettle," said the victorious manager. "Hopefully this erases the sour taste of the Sao Paolo game from our mouths. We have two big games vs. Stoke City this week, and of course the Holiday House derby game against West Ham. We must be ready for these fixtures."
L: Szabolcs Huszti rifles home a penalty bar down R: Jan Schlaudraff slides in to tip home the equalizer
Cup - Group Stage - Match 3 Stoke City 3 - 3 Hannover 96 M. Abdellaoue 37' C. Jerome 42' M. Kightly P. Crouch 48' C. Jerome C. Jerome 53' M. Kightly L. Stindl 58' M. Diouf 76' D. Ya Konan "Wir brauchten nur einen Punkt, um die Gruppe zu gewinnen, und wir haben es."
Hannover 96 finished up group play against Serie A rival Stoke City and bigox1337, needing just a draw in this encounter to secure group A victory, by virtue of Stoke City's draw vs. Espanyol. "Our plan was to take an early lead, play our game, and secure one point without much risk," said the manager. "In the end, we achieved our goal, but it was certainly not the way we expected, or perhaps wanted!"
The plan got off to a good start when Mohammed Abdellaoue rifled home a rebound top shelf, putting his side ahead 1-0. However, Stoke would score three unanswered, all off of cool, low finishes. Hannover responded by inserting Mame Diouf and going to a 4-3-3 attacking formation, and the result was two unanswered goals. Lars Stindl scored unassisted in the 58th, and the speedster Diouf got on the scoresheet again with a headed finish to level the match in the 76th. Hannover would then collapse to a 5-man backline, preserving the draw and the victory in Group A.
"A fantastic finish to our group stage play," said the manager. "We did what we set out to accomplish--win the group. now, we face the treacherous waters of the knockout stage. A first-round meeting with a Serie A team awaits us--no easy task. I think our boys are up for it, however. Only time will tell!
Mohammed Abdellaoue roofs home a rebound
Matchweek 7 Stoke City 1 - 1 Hannover 96 L. Stindl 14' M. Kightly 78' C. Jerome "Ein faires Ergebnis, aber das Festhalten an dem Gegentor wäre schön gewesen."
Hannover 96 played a doubleheader of sorts, remaining in England to face bigox1337 and Stoke City again, this time in the Serie A standings. After drawing the Potters 3-3 in the previous fixture, manager rschwep was expecting another uptempo game. However, a ferocious rainstorm slowed down the pitch considerably, thus limiting the offense between the two sides, yet the result was the same: a draw.
"Two away games vs. a great opponent who has played us well, two draws are not bad results." said rschwep. "However, in the Cup game, all we needed was a draw. Here, I can't help but feel as if maybe we let a win slip away."
Lars Stindl scored in the 14th after the referee granted an advantage. Mohammed Abdellaoue was fouled at the top of the box, but the referee allowed play to continue, and Stindl swooped in and rifled home for the early lead. From that point forward, the game was slow and uneventful. A few chances were exchanged, but nothing of note. Even usual spark Mame Diouf could not provide a second for Hannover--his speed greatly limited by the pitch.
Eventually, Michael Kightly would score on a counter-attacking play. After Didier Ya Konan muffed a semi-breakaway of his own, Stoke took the ball and advanced it gloriously, creating a two-on-none which Cameron Jerome slid across to Kighly for the easy tap in. That would be all she wrote in this affair, as the sides once again slipped the points.
"It's a bit of a shame, one defensive letdown may have cost us two points today," said rschwep. "However, this is a great team we're playing. Every Serie A side is. I won't complain about draws on the road."
Matchweek 8 West Ham United 3 - 3 Hannover 96 J. Collins 34' M. Taylor D. Ya Konan 45' L. Stindl M. Maiga 52' Y. Benayoun D. Ya Konan 54' M. Jarvis 57' M. Maiga M. Abdellaoue 82' S. Huszti "Drei Defizite, drei Antworten. Ein tolles Ergebnis gegen einen Elite-Gegner."
Hannover 96 remained in England following their doubleheader at Stoke, this time to face long-time buddy/nemesis hybrid CxMacx10 and his newly selected West Ham United squad. It was to be this season's first installment of the Holiday House Derby. The name dates back all the way to 2012, when rschwep and CxMacx10 were neighbors in a lovely apartment complex named the Holiday House. It was there that both managers entered the TSO, and after hundreds of practice matches, a 1-2 finish in Serie B, and the subsequent promotion to Serie A together, the rest is history. The two managers have shared many a beer, and as a heated Twitter exchange revealed, many a Papa John's Reward Point--so it is only fitting that today, they shared the points as well, drawing 3-3 on a match that featured three equalizers from a determined Hannover side.
"I've played CxMacx10 more times than I care to say--and that's only because I've lost 90% of the matches. The total number must be astounding. On the road, against him, in the league, a draw is a fantastic result. We'll take it," said rschwep.
After a first half-hour of relative deadlock, West Ham drew first blood on a corner, when a completely unmarked Collins headed home just inside the box. "It was then that I feared the worst," said rschwep. "We had been going well, and I was afraid conceding first would put a damper in our side." Didier Ya Konan made sure that wouldn't happen quite yet, as he slotted home a breakaway past a charging Jaaskelainen right before halftime.
Mame Diouf came on after the break, but West Ham would strike next, scoring on a similar breakaway following a nice run, this time by Maiga. Again, Didier Ya Konan would provide the answer. A blocked shot fell to his feet, and after a nice touch to evade the goalie, the Ivorian slotted from a sharp angle to once again level the match. West Ham responded three minutes later, with former Wolves man Matthew Jarvis finding the back of the net from another typical sharp CxMacx10 finish. "Simply put, his attackers don't miss. He never shoots right at the goalie, and if he misses wide, it's not by much. You cannot give him any room or he will make you pay."
Dying for an equalizer to return home to Hannover with something, a miracle was found within Mohammed Abdellaoue. Wide service from Szabolcs Huszti was met by Abdellaoue near the top of the box, as he leaped and headed around a defender, slotting it perfectly to the low corner. "What a goal by Mohammed, at the perfect time!" exclaimed his manager. The strike was certainly unexpected per the history between these two managers--but perhaps even more unexpected was that Hannover was able to hold on for the final eight minutes to secure one point.
"You never want to say you're happy with a draw, but on the road against the table-toppers, a side that has been in phenomenal form, a draw is something we will be proud of," said rschwep. "We ended this matchweek with two draws in two games, and now we're 2-4-2. Overall, we are drawing too many games to make an impact, but, the positive spin is that we have only two losses in eight games. We have a bit of a break now, and we will work hard on figuring out how we can better turn one point into three."
Matchweek 10 Hannover 96 4 - 1 Real Sociedad C. Vela 32' G. CastroS. Huszti 50' M. Diouf M. Abdellaoue 54' M. Diouf M. Diouf 56' M. Abdellaoue Felipe 59' S. Huszti "Eine atemberaubende 10 Minuten führte uns zum Sieg heute."
Hannover 96 faced a long layoff following their thrilling rivalry draw to West Ham, and manager rschwep was concerned the lack of even training sessions of late would affect his team, particularly their finishing. "I've noticed that when I haven't had an opportunity to roll the ball out onto the pitch with the gang, we sometimes go cold in our return." With early title contenders Real Sociedad and RedAL925 coming to the AWD-Arena, Hannover would need to be sharp to secure three points, something they desperately needed amidst their run of drawn matches. It took one half to find, but the German men would eventually show their ability, striking four times in a nine minute span to secure a 4-1 victory.
The first half was littered with Hannover chances, but none found the back of the net. Most went wide, one hit the post, but at the very least, Hannover looked in control of the match, something their manager liked to see. "We came out strong, started the match very well. Not finishing is something that plagues us at times, but if we can keep control of the match and keep the pitch tilted to our sides, I'm confident that eventually we will find the goals we need." Shocking Hannover was a bout of poor defense, leading to a quality near-post finish by Vela in the 32nd, dropping the home side down a goal against the run of play. "Conceding despite our start is certainly not optimal, but I was confident our boys would find a response, and that they did."
It took a bit of a shake-up, as rschwep switched from a 4-4-2 to a 4-3-3 at the half, bringing on dynamo Mame Diouf as usual. Immediately, the Senegalese striker made an impact, running wild down the left flank on several occasions. In the 50th, he found Szabolcs Huszti in the middle of the field, who completed a nice off-balance strike to the far post to equalize. Moments later, Diouf passed inside again to Mohammed Abdellaoue, who again finished nicely to put Hannover up 2-1. On the very next sequence, a counter attack led to Diouf running in alone, and he slotted to make it three. Finally, Huszti's corner in the 59th found the head of center back Felipe, who finished for his first goal of the campaign, capping off a dream sequence for Die Roten and leading them to a 4-1 lead, which they would not relinquish.
rschwep commented on the match: "A phenomenal second-half, unlike the first only in that we finished the chances we created. I was pleased with our effort start to finish. Diouf was certainly the key for us today. His speed off the bench is a weapon that most sides cannot easily handle. We are blessed with a diverse range of attackers, and when one has a bad game, others are always there to pick that person up. Look at Didier Ya Konan - five goals on the season and did not factor in once tonight. I don't mean to single out Didier, but the point is clear. When we control a match territorially, it is tough to keep this group of attackers down."
Top L: Huszti scores off-balance to equalize.Top R: Abdellaoue finishes for the game-winner.Bottom L: Diouf's counter attack is on point.Bottom R: Felipe heads home for his first goal of the season.
Premier Open Cup - Round of 16 Santos 0 - 2 Hannover 96 M. Abdellaoue 45' S. da Silva Pinto M. Abdellaoue 77' CS R. Zieler "Wir waren nicht die bessere Mannschaft heute, aber unser Torwart und die Post war auf unserer Seite."
Hannover 96 travelled to Brazil for their debut fixture in the newly minted TSO Premier Open Cup, where they would face individual dynamo Neymar and the always electric Santos squad, under the new management of krtgolfing. The tournament may be new on the TFS slate, but that didn't mean rschwep and his Hannover side were taking it any less seriously. "If there's a trophy on the line, we want to play our best and we want to claim it." Play their best the Germans did not, however a strong effort by Ron-Robert Zieler and the two posts behind him would be key for H96 on this day, as they barely survived a phenomenal Santos effort to win 2-0.
Santos opened the game with a flurry, hitting the crossbar on an early header. It would be a premonition of things to come. The Brazilian side would continue to pepper Hannover with chance after chance, including at least three that struck woodwork, but could not draw first blood. Hannover squandered a few chances of their own, and would finally go up 1-0 with a lovely Abdellaoue strike from just outside the box, cutting from his right to left and finishing high left corner. "That goal was a bit against the run of play, you'd have to say--at the very least, it was certainly unlikely that we had not conceded to that point. But to get a lead just before halftime was big for our confidence," said rschwep.
The second half saw Mame Diouf come on and do what he typically does--make things happen. However, a 2-on-0 chance was squandered when Santos keeper Rafael brilliantly charged and tipped Diouf's crossing pass at the last possible second. "I thought that when we blew that remarkable chance to go up two, that we were inviting Santos back into the game," remarked the manager. Indeed, Santos continued to play well, but Zieler answered the call at every opportunity.
In the 77th, Abdellaoue pounced on a loose ball following a scramble just in front of goal, and slotted to make it 2-0--an insurance goal Hannover desperately needed. "I didn't think we would be able to keep a clean sheet on this day, but Zieler was up to the task, and perhaps the football gods were on our side as well. Santos certainly deserved a better result, but we're on to the quarterfinals and we are excited for the next match."
Abdellaoue pounces and finishes for the crucial insurance marker.
Matchweek 9 Hannover 96 2 - 5 Swansea City D. Graham 10' N. Dyer S. Cherundolo 34' J. Schlaudraff N. Dyer 40' Angel Rangel Pablo Hernandez 42' N. Dyer D. Graham 64' M. Abdellaoue 79' D. Graham 90' J. De Guzman "Absolut deklassierte heute. Ihr Passspiel war phänomenal."
Hannover 96 next faced snake3249 and Swansea City for the clubs' debut fixture in Serie A. However, the opposing manager was not unfamiliar to rschwep, as he had faced him a few earlier times (to no success). "I don't take any of that 'recently promoted' talk seriously. I know full well what his sides are capable of doing. One need look no further than the cup last season for evidence of that." Indeed, Swansea showed their class on this day, thoroughly dominating Hannover to the tune of a 5-2 win that easily could have been 8-0.
Danny Graham struck early for Swansea, collecting his rebound off of a phenomenal centering pass from Dyer. "It was a harbinger of things to come," said rschwep. For a moment, the match looked as if it might be a closely contested one, as Steve Cherundolo somehow found himself in the box, turning and finishing a close shot to make it 1-1. From that moment, Swansea turned on the jets, and made sure that a close match it would not become.
The Welsh side used incredible through balls and deft centering passes to constantly keep the pressure on the Germans. Dyer and Hernandez struck mere minutes apart before halftime, stunning Hannover in the process. A second half shakeup in formation would do no good, as Graham netted his second in the 64th, making it 4-1. The two sides swapped consolation goals late, but the damage had long been done--and it could have been worse, as Swansea missed a few close-in breakaway chances.
"Absolutely outclassed and passed to death. Incredible combinations played by them today. Truthfully, it was the finest offensive performance I have ever seen in an opponent. I don't want to dwell much on this because simply put, we were beaten today. Our defensive positioning needs to be better, we know that. This is especially stunning because we have been in such good form of late. The raw statistics don't show it, but we were thoroughly beaten by a better football club today."
Steve Cherundolo's early equalizer, before it headed south for Hannover
Matchweek 11 Montpellier 4 - 2 Hannover 96 J. Utaka 22' S. Camara M. Abdellaoue 26' S. Huszti S. Camara 35' A. Mounier M. Abdellaoue 45' S. Huszti J. Utaka 64' K. Ait-Fana J. Utaka 82' S. Camara "Eine zweite Folge schlechten Anstrengungen hat uns verwirrt. Unser Torwart muss besser sein als gut."
Hannover 96 completed the first half of their schedule with a trip to France to face high-flying Montpellier and vipermansa. "Certainly we know their reputation for goal-getting. I was hoping we would be better prepared to play our game, after we let Swansea take it to us in the last fixture," commented rschwep. Unfortunately for he and his side, Montpellier imposed their will much like the Welshmen, scoring four in a victory marked by poor goalkeeping by Ron-Robert Zieler and excellent offensive movement by Montpellier.
The night would belong to John Utaka, who notched a hat trick for Montpellier (the second straight game Hannover has allowed a hat-trick hero), and he started the scoring in the 22nd on a shot in the box that was the result of an excellent combination and finish. Abdellaoue equalized moments later, but Camara would again put Montpellier ahead on a breakaway that perhaps Ron-Robert Zieler should have stopped. "Camara was in tight, and he put the shot just down under his outstretched arm. I'd like to see Zieler perhaps be more aggressive on that chance," remarked his manager. Despite that, Abdellaoue would equalize just before half, slotting home a shot from a Szabolcs Huszti pass across the goal mouth (Huszti's second assist of the day).
The second half, typically Hannover's strongest period of the game, was a letdown for the German side. Despite the insertion of Mame Diouf, Hannover's offense could muster nothing against the stout French side, who broke the deadlock in the 64th following a wonderful over-the-top ball by Ait-Fana. Utaka would ice the game in the 82nd on a diving shot, finishing a pass by Camara that trickled through the goal mouth. "Unacceptable by Zieler on the fourth goal--he simply has to corral that ball on the way by. Very strange play and one that deflated our comeback spirits," said rschwep.
"We now have lost two straight, giving up large totals of goals against in the process. We need to get back to basic football and defend. It's something that I'm going to preach to our side as we prepare to play Montpellier again in the Cup."
Abdellaoue finishes a crossing pass by Huszti
Cup - Round of 16 Hannover 96 3 - 0 Montpellier D. Ya Konan 13' L. Stindl M. Abdellaoue 37' D. Ya Konan L. Stindl 89' Felipe CS R. Zieler "Eine völlige Umkehrung unserer vorhergehenden Spiel gegen Montpellier. Eine große Resonanz."
Moments after soundly beating Hannover 96, Montpellier flew to Germany to meet Die Roten once again, under several different circumstances, namely the AWD-Arena rather than Montpellier's Stade de la Mosson, and playing for a place in the Cup quarterfinals rather than coveted Serie A points. Perhaps it was the lesson learned from the previous fixture, or perhaps it was the change of scenery, but the match played out to a different tune for the Germans, as they controlled the 90 for a solid 3-0 win to move on to the final eight.
"After just playing them, we knew that getting into a track meet would spell certain death for us. We wanted to slow down the match, take our chances, but make sure we didn't get caught out of position on the back end," said rschwep. That was precisely how the match played out, as Hannover's positioning was much improved from the previous game. They held Montpellier to 77% passing, and the match was significantly slower in pace. "I think those two things were key for us against this side today. We were able to stay within ourselves and get the result."
Of course, goals are required to win, and Hannover recorded three on the day. Didier Ya Konan started it off in the 13th on a rebound from a Lars Stindl shot, and Ya Konan then set up Mohammed Abdellaoue in the 37th for a smooth finish inside the box. With a 2-0 scoreline at the half, rschwep decided not to take any chances, and went to a 5-4-1 formation. "Again, it was all about slowing the match down. I was comfortable with a two goal lead and decided to play it safe. The decision worked." While limiting Montpellier, Stindl was able to add a third on a late counter-attack, sealing the match and advancing Hannover to the quarterfinals, where they will play the winner of Real Sociedad/Sunderland.
"We know we will play another top-division side in the next round, so it doesn't get any easier. However, I really like our response from the previous match to this one. We are playing very well in the cup competitions this season. We need to translate that success over to the league and start earning some points."
Top L: Ya Konan finishes Stindl's rebound. Top R: Abdellaoue finishes to make it two Bottom: Stindl seals the game late.
Premier Open Cup - Quarterfinal Hannover 96 4 - 1 Atletico Mineiro Danilinho M. Abdellaoue D. Ya Konan D. Ya Konan S. Huszti M. Diouf S. Huszti S. da Silva PintoS. Huszti "Eine starke Leistung, und wir sind auf die letzten vier."
Hannover 96 continued their run in the Premier Open Cup by hosting Atletico Mineiro and thebouncer24 at the AWD-Arena. Die Roten were looking to maintain their strong run of form in Cup competitions, as they had outscored their opponents 17-6 while winning five, drawing one, and losing zero in both cups entering this fixture. Although they received an early scare, Hannover were able to maintain composure and assert themselves as the match went on, winning 4-1 and advancing to the semifinal.
Mineiro opened the game with a bang, as Danilinho dribbled in and ripped an absolute laser in the 2nd minute that struck the intersection of the post and the crossbar above Ron-Robert Zieler, and ricocheted in. "A tremendous finish--we were certainly stunned," said manager rschwep. "After a strike like that, you can do nothing but admire it and hope your side has the composure to carry on." Crafting the perfect response, Hannover took the ensuing kickoff right down and scored on a nice Mohammed Abdellaoue curler from in tight, finishing a nice combination play from Didier Ya Konan.
As the match went on, Hannover was able to control play. Szabolcs Huszti's distribution was excellent, as Hannover worked down the left side for three additional goals in the encounter, most notably Mame Diouf scoring right as the second half began on a header, and perhaps the best of the four goals, a 30-yard strike from Sergio da Silva Pinto after a restart from Huszti on a free kick.
"A textbook performance tonight, one that I am proud of," said the Hannover manager. "We now are onto the final four in this inaugural tournament. Two wins from a trophy. This is valuable experience for our side, and I'm excited to find out who our opponent will be."
Matchday 13 Anzhi 1 - 2 Hannover 96 L. Traore 22' M. Boussoufa C. Pander 42' S. Cherundolo 57' S. da Silva Pinto "Ein glücklicher Ergebnis. Eto'o rannte wild, aber wir verlangsamt das Spiel in der zweiten Hälfte bewundernswert."
Hannover 96 resumed play after the halfway point with their first return fixture of the campaign - a trip to southwestern Russia to face shiftee and the electric Anzhi squad, featuring notorious hitman Samuel Eto'o. "With Anzhi, the goal is clear - you must stop Eto'o. He is in a class of his own in this league," remarked his manager. It is up for debate if Hannover was able to do so on this day, but if the literal definition is taken, Die Roten were successful, holding the Cameroonian off the scoresheet, and taking the fixture 2-1 amidst some fortunate saves from Ron-Robert Zieler.
Hannover began the match in their traditional 4-4-2, and immediately faced some pressure up the middle from the rangy Eto'o. Anzhi were able to play numerous through balls through that outran the plodding central defense of Felipe and Haggui, however, Zieler played his position admirably, cutting off the angle on a few chances, forcing Eto'o to shoot wide. The floodgates could not be held off forever, as Lacina Traore found netting, going unmarked off a corner kick. Hannover were forced to respond by upping their attacking mentality a tad, and indeed were able to level before half through Christian Pander, who found a loose ball following a corner kick of Hannover's own, slotting it far post through traffic.
At the break, Mame Diouf came in, but the formation remained the same. Hannover still found themselves on the short end of some deftly played passes, relying on Zieler to rob Eto'o a few times in tight. They were able to take the lead on a stroke of genius from Steve Cherundolo - playing right back reminiscent of Philipp Lahm, the American international cut inside, and was given ample space to release, as Anzhi's defenders likely expected a pass. "I can't say I expected Cherundolo to finish that chance - but you have to take what the defense gives you. shiftee is an opponent who knows what we like to do, he knows that Cherundolo is looking to play a ground pass into the middle there. The defenders were coached well - they took all options away completely, except for the shot. And Steve took the shot fantastically." Indeed, the low shot beat Gabulov and turned the game upside down, as the Germans had a lead for the first time.
After about three minutes of having the lead, rschwep decided enough was enough. "We were getting burned far too often up the middle, and to the outside through Eto'o's speed. We needed a change." The switch was made to the trademark 5-4-1 defensive formation, and Hannover was committed to defend for 30 minutes. "Possession was wildly in our favor, but chances weren't. I didn't like how our forwards were keeping the ball. We were better off playing through the back and the midfield, making smart passes, and not getting caught out of position. A bit more timid than I like to play, but against this opponent, I thought it was the appropriate strategy." Indeed, Hannover held the ball for the remainder of the 30 minutes (not without at least one scare from Eto'o), and they were able to earn the three points following a fantastic commitment to possession and shape down the stretch.
"The final 30 minutes may be the most disciplined we've looked all year. The final numbers don't lie - 59% possession. That has to be our high watermark for the season. And trust me, we needed every bit of it. You have to limit Eto'o, because you can't stop him. Zieler was huge for us when our limitations fell through today. And Steve took a shining moment for the three points."
L: Christian Pander rifles home a shot following a corner kick scramble. R: Steve Cherundolo finds net when affronted the opportunity to have a go.
Matchday 15 Hannover 96 3 - 1 Bordeaux S. Huszti 7' - pen D. Ya Konan 13' S. Cherundolo D. Ya Konan 42' S. da Silva Pinto Y. Gouffran 85' L. Obraniak "Bordeaux sollte hatte ein paar mehr Tore, aber wir haben einen Vorsprung früh und wurden verpflichtet, sie zu verteidigen."
Hannover 96 returned to the AWD-Arena to face another longtime nemesis, Broncos218 and the Bordeaux squad which took three points from Die Roten earlier in the campaign on a heartbreaking late winner, moments after Hannover had tied it. "Certainly recent fixtures with Bronc are fresh in my mind," said rschwep. "He's a clinical side that cannot be taken lightly." The result in this match was a stunner for those who were in attendance, as they watched Hannover mount an early lead, only to survive a 75 minute Bordeaux onslaught that included several posts and nearly missed chances. "Survival is the best word I can think of to describe this match," said rschwep.
Hannover received their first break of many in the fixture when Didier Ya Konan was taken down in the box. Szabolcs Huszti stepped up to take the spot kick, and was able to barely roof the ball over the diving Bordeaux keeper, who guessed correctly. "As Broncos said after the match--once he dove the correct way and was still not able to stop the kick, you had a feeling it would be our day," said rschwep. Didier Ya Konan made it two moments later when Steve Cherundolo's centering pass was received and deftly curled into the net. Just like that, Hannover had mounted a two goal lead 13 minutes into the match. "That's when tactical adjustments were made, and things started to change."
Clearly, both sides responded to the early deficit. Hannover went into more of a shell, and Bordeaux ramped up the attack. Indeed, they struck well, controlled possession, and were certainly looking likely to score--but the goal never came. "I lost count of how many posts they struck, how many chances went just wide--we were fortunate to say the least." The fortune grew when Sergio da Silva Pinto found a streaking Ya Konan on a long outlet pass, sending the Ivorian free. Converting the breakaway made it 3-0 Hannover in the 42nd.
The second half was more of the same--chance after chance for Bordeaux thwarted by a blocked shot, a last second tackle, or a near miss from the French side. Gouffran finally broke through on a cool finish in the 85th, but it was not enough. "Building the early lead was excellent, and we survived the remainder of the match. The clock could not have felt like it was moving any slower tonight! Credit to our back line for holding strong and not allowing any clear chances. We did make them work for the chances they had, and on most days, Bronc will finish from those tight spaces. We were fortunate that today was not that day."
L: Huszti's spot kick barely eludes the keeper. R: Ya Konan swerves a shot in from tight.
Matchweek 12 Hannover 96 4 - 1 Parma J. Valdez 19' M. Abdellaoue 44' M. Schmiedebach M. Diouf 57' D. Ya Konan M. Diouf 71' S. Cherundolo M. Diouf 74' M. Abdellaoue "Mame Diouf - die zweite Hälfte Wunder."
Hannover 96 hosted heznfire and Parma hoping to continue their good form of late. "We set a second half goal to turn draws into wins, and to turn losses into draws. When we last saw this team, we were outplayed, but managed to escape with a point. Today, we wanted to play better and take all three." Indeed, Die Roten were able to overcome a slow start, while slowing down the high-powered Parma attack, conceding first but taking control through Mame Diouf's second-half hat trick to notch a 4-1 victory.
Valdez scored first for the Italian club by shrugging off Karim Haggui, darting down the middle and finishing high to the far post spectacularly. The goal came in the 19th minute following a few back-and-forth chances by each side. Despite the relatively early marker, the match did not have the aggressive counter-attacking pace that these two teams displayed in their first fixture. "We definitely wanted to play a slower game," said rschwep. "I've observed it time and time again, when we get into shootouts where we're running down the flanks all game, we aren't playing our best football. We play our best when we control the ball and pass it with deadly accuracy. That's what we were able to do today." Indeed, the early marker would be Hannover's only lapse of the day--they leveled it just before half on a gorgeous through-ball by new starter Manuel Schmiedebach, finding Mohammed Abdellaoue for the finish--his 15th in 21 matches (all competitions) this season.
The second half would see the usual introduction of Mame Diouf, and the big Senegalese striker did not disappoint. In the 57th, he finished off a wonderful passing sequence by one-touching a pass and striking low to the far post. In the 71st, he notched his brace with a beautiful left-footed curling shot to the high corner. Upon the 3-1 lead, rschwep brought defensive substitutions to the touchline, but before they could enter the pitch, Diouf sealed the match with a powerful driving shot from mid-distance, receiving a pass in stride on a counter-attack and beating the defense for his hat trick.
"We bring him on for this reason--to create with his speed and his dynamic ability. We are blessed to have a great selection of strikers at this club, and our top three have all been in fine form of late," said rschwep. "We now look forward to our draw in the Premier Cup and continuing this strong run of form!"
L: Mohammed Abdellaoue converts the fine through ball. R: Mame Diouf finishes off a nice sequence.
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