Hannover 96 Vs. Schalke 04, 2012 Bundesliga: Nikci's Late Goal Secures Draw For Hannover

Hannover and Schalke shared the points today at the AWD Arena in Hannover. The hosts needed a late goal from substitute Adrian Nikci to secure a 2-2 draw.

The visitors controlled most of the first half, but conceded a free kick inside their half of the field just before halftime. Christian Pander sent a great free kick into the penalty area, and Hannover's new signee Felipe headed the ball past Timo Hildebrand in the 43rd minute. Replays showed criminal defending by Schalke as Felipe was left completely unmarked at the back post. Roman Neustädter in particular was wondering around aimlessly.

Schalke were determined to find their opening goal and found it just after halftime. Neustädter redeemed himself by breaking up a Schalke attack in his own penalty area. He quickly fed Lewis Holtby who turned immediately to attack. Holtby played a great ball down down the right flank to Klaas Jan Huntelaar who cut inside on his left foot and beat Ron-Robert Zieler to the far post to level the score.

Holtby would give Schalke the lead in the 64th minute when Jermaine Jones sent a short chip into the penalty area where the midfielder surprisingly beat Hannover defender Mario Eggimann in the air with a header that went into the net. Schalke were rolling at this point, and it seemed likely that more goals were coming.

Hannover weren't allowing Schalke to find another goal and kept pressing for their own equalizer. In the 8th minute, Jan Schlaudraff made an excellent run into the Schalke penalty area. He played a low cross to Nikci who slid and deflected the ball past Hildebrand for the goal. Nikci had only been on the pitch for a few minutes before scoring.

With the draw, Hannover extend their unbeaten run at home in the league to 19 matches. They'll host Slask Wroclaw in the second leg of their Europa League tie on Thursday. Schalke will be slightly disappointed to not pick up all three points, but they know that a picking up a point in Hannover is a victory in itself.

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