Hannover had every hope of ending Sunday's match against FC Koln in second place in the Bundesliga, four points back of Bayern Munich. Instead, they find themselves in seventh after a 2-0 loss thanks to a Lukas Podolski brace, strong play by the hosts throughout and a series of unfortunate refereeing decisions.
The game was 25 minutes old when Podolski first struck, hammering a free kick past poor Ron-Robert Zieler, and while Hannover had plenty of time on the ball and plenty of shooting opportunities after that, they never seemed quite as incisive as their opponents but for a short spell in the second half. Said spell, however, should certainly have yielded the equaliser. Sergio Pinto latched onto a cutback and slid a shot past Michael Rensing only to have his goal bizarrely disallowed for offside thanks to the other Mohammed Abdellaoue straying offside fifteen yards from the play. Then they were denied what looked like a clear-cut penalty when a long-range free kick was handled by the Koln wall.
And to add injury to more injury, Podolski took it upon himself to make things worse for the visitors, cutting in from the corner, beating his man, and firing an unstoppable rocket past Zieler from an improbably angle to wrap up the win. Not a good day for Hannover at all.