Hannover 96 0-0 R. Standard de Liège
The Belgian side frustrated their hosts to claim a draw in their Group B opener following a match of few chances in Germany.
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Hannover 96 were held to a goalless draw by R. Standard de Liège in a Group B encounter with few clear-cut chances for either side.
The two No7s – Hannover's tricky playmaker Sergio Pinto and Standard's equally elusive Franck Berrier – were the main creative forces, particularly in the opening half, yet their patient probing lacked the guile or poise to find a way through two resolute rearguards.
Hannover started the brighter as Konstantin Rausch's direct running down the left flank caused the visitors' defence problems, and it was Emanuel Pogatetz who spurned the best of the winger's centres when he flashed a header past the post after ten minutes.
Bia Mujangi's physical presence threatened the hosts, but on the few occasions the Belgian international managed to bustle his way into the Hannover box, home goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler stood firm. Jan Schlaudraff carved out Hannover's best chance on 20 minutes when he glided past several challenges to tee up strike partner Mohammed Abdellaoue, only for Kanu to prevent a goal with a last-ditch block.
Schlaudraff then went agonisingly close when his audacious chip from the left angle of the box beat Sinan Bolat in the Standard goal but hit the crossbar. Hannover suffered a setback when Abdellaoue succumbed to the same thigh injury which had kept him out of their defeat at VfB Stuttgart at the weekend, leaving Didier Konan Ya to take his place at half-time.
Mujangi started the second period by firing a low shot wide of Zieler's left-hand post as Standard searched for the goal that would give them their first win on German soil in six attempts. The contest nevertheless became increasingly punctuated by midfield attrition, with neither side capable of conjuring a meaningful opportunity.
Indeed, Hannover substitute Moritz Stoppelkamp's left-footed shot which curled narrowly off target was a rare moment of threat as the match petered out to a stalemate.