Hannover 96

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Bundesliga: Leverkusen throttle HSV; Hannover remain unbeaten

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BERLIN (AP) Three days after being cleared to play by FIFA, Argentine striker Lucas Alario scored one goal and set up another on his debut for Bayer Leverkusen to beat Hamburger SV 3-0 in the Bundesliga on Sunday.

Alario struck midway through the first half, converting a cross from Leon Bailey, who also set up Kevin Volland’s opening goal just three minutes before.

A moment of class from Julian Brandt sent Alario through with less than 10 minutes remaining, and the Argentine had the awareness to spot the better-positioned Volland to seal the win.

Alario went off moments later to warm applause from fans.

“The goal is the cream on top. He played very well, scored the goal and combined with others. He worked well coming back and his first goal wasn’t so easy to score,” Leverkusen coach Heiko Herrlich said.

Alario’s first appearance for Leverkusen was held up when previous club River Plate objected to his transfer through the Argentine soccer association (AFA), which denied his playing rights.

The Buenos Aires-based club contended that Alario’s transfer was invalid as Leverkusen paid his release clause of $28.6 million on Aug. 31, after the Argentine season began, which it said was against FIFA rules.

Leverkusen then took the case to FIFA, which ruled in its favor on Thursday.

Leverkusen’s second win in six games eased the pressure on new coach Herrlich after a difficult start.

Counterpart Markus Gisdol remains in need of a change in fortune, however, after four straight defeats. Hamburg next faces Werder Bremen, Mainz and Bayern Munich.


Cologne fought its way to its first point in a 0-0 draw at promoted Hannover after starting the Bundesliga with five straight defeats.

Now the last-place side hopes it can build on the point.

“The luck will come back and the chances we had today will go in,” Cologne goalkeeper Timo Horn said. “We’ll start winning the games again. But the precondition was this performance that we delivered today.”

Peter Stoeger’s side, which has scored only one goal all season, hasn’t netted in its last four league games. That highlighted the extent to which Cologne relied on French striker Anthony Modeste, sold in the offseason in a big-money move to Chinese side Tianjin Quanjian.

Modeste scored 25 Bundesliga goals for Cologne last season. His replacement, former Mainz striker Jhon Cordoba, is yet to score in six games.

“We all have to be satisfied with the draw,” said Hannover general manager Horst Heldt, whose fourth-place side remains one of three unbeaten in the Bundesliga this season.

Hannover coach Andre Breitenreiter remained unbeaten in 15 games across two divisions.

BUNDESLIGA 2017-18: Guide to the two promoted teams

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BERLIN (AP) A look at Stuttgart and Hannover as the promoted teams prepare for the opening weekend of the Bundesliga.

[ MORE: Hoffenheim 1-2 Liverpool ]

STUTTGART

Stuttgart, which won the Bundesliga in 2007, was relegated in 2016 but bounced straight back by winning the second division last season.

The club has made a number of signings in an attempt to stay in the top flight this time: former Germany defenders Holger Badstuber and Dennis Aogo; Brazilian defender Ailton; forwards Chadrac Akolo and Anastasios Donis; and Germany backup goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler.

Arguably more significant, however, was Stuttgart’s luring of Michael Reschke from Bayern Munich to be its sporting director. The 59-year-old Reschke has a good reputation for scouting and player development after three years at Bayern and 10 at Bayer Leverkusen. His services will be appreciated at a club that has long nurtured raw talent. Seven members of Germany’s Confederations Cup-winning squad began their careers at Stuttgart, including Timo Werner, Joshua Kimmich and Mario Gomez.

Simon Terodde, the team’s top goalscorer last season, knows his side faces a difficult task to ensure survival this year.

“In the second division we were always the favorites, had a lot of ball-possession,” Terodde said. “That will change now in the Bundesliga when you’re playing against the big teams like Schalke, Bayern, Dortmund. That’s the way it is. But still, we’re prepared.”


HANNOVER

Hannover also returned at the first attempt, as the runner-up in the second division.

But the side’s summer rebuilding has been overshadowed by club president’s Martin Kind’s takeover of voting rights. Kind has been an outspoken critic of the Bundesliga’s 50-plus-1 regulation, which limits the influence of external backers, and he was able to increase his stake to a majority thanks to an exemption as he has backed the club for 20 years.

[ MORE:  Klopp reacts to Champions League win ]

The regulation prohibits stakeholders from having more than 49 percent of a club, with the rest remaining in club members’ hands to prevent takeovers. There are exceptions – Wolfsburg, Leverkusen, Hoffenheim and now, Hannover.

The move has been opposed by many club supporters and Kind has been the subject of derogatory chants at friendly games. Hannover’s friendly at Premier League side Burnley was called off at halftime due to trouble from the visiting fans.

The club has been relatively quiet on the transfer front, bringing in defenders Julian Korb and Matthias Ostrzolek from Bundesliga rivals Borussia Moenchengladbach and Hamburger SV, respectively, as well as midfielder Pirmin Schwegler from Hoffenheim.

Staying in the Bundesliga is the initial priority, though Kind wants the club to play internationally.

Horst Heldt was appointed as sporting director last March, and he brought in Andre Breitenreiter as coach. The two had worked together at Schalke.

“We need three years to establish ourselves back in the Bundesliga, and then we will look forwards,” Kind said. “I can’t say yet whether that will be Europe.”

More AP German soccer: http://www.apnews.com/tag/Bundesliga

Burnley-Hannover friendly abandoned after reported crowd trouble

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Burnley was leading at halftime of Saturday’s friendly against Bundesliga side Hannover, however, the preseason friendly has been abandoned at the Turf Moor.

Reported crowd control issues have been cited as the reason for stopping the match in the second half with Burnley leading 1-0.

The Clarets had taken the lead just minutes before halftime when Ben Mee headed home a cross from Robbie Brady in the 41st minute.

Burnley opens up Premier League play next weekend on the road against reigning champions Chelsea.

Report: Hannover, Stuttgart interested in U.S. center back

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FC Dallas’ exceptional center back duo could be broken up if a couple German clubs have anything to say about it.

Walker Zimmerman and Matt Hedges have impressed in MLS, both earning call-ups to the United States men’s national team.

[ MORE: USMNT learns Gold Cup draw ]

Zimmerman, 23, is the younger of the two, and Metro New York reporter Kristian Dyer says a source tells him that a pair of Bundesliga hopefuls are on his tail.

Neither Hannover nor Stuttgart are strangers to American talent. Longtime USMNT fullback Steve Cherundolo captained Hannover and is the current assistant manager, while Stuttgart boasts young American winger Julian Green.

Stuttgart leads the 2.Bundesliga table, while Hannover is in third. The third-place team in the final table will face the third-worst team in the Bundesliga in a playoff for a spot in the top flight.

MLSSoccer.com has a response from FCD:

“It does not surprise me that teams from all over the world are paying attention, and are interested in FC Dallas players,” FCD technical director Fernando Clavijo said in a statement to MLSsoccer.com.

Stoke City add $9 million ex-Real Madrid striker from Bundesliga

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Mark Hughes has another big target man in his strike force after Stoke City agreed on a $9 million deal to bring over Spanish striker Joselu from Hannover 96.

The 6-foot-3 center forward will join Mame Biram Diouf, Peter Crouch and Bojan Krkic in the Potters attacking unit, with Jonathan Walters out of contract but reportedly hoping to stay around the Britannia Stadium.

[ MORE: U.S. Open Cup preview ]

The well-traveled 25-year-old was a prolific scorer for Real Madrid B but had trouble breaking into the La Liga giants’ A-side, scoring in both of his appearances before leaving for Hoffenheim in 2012.

Joselu appeared for three Bundesliga sides in as many years, scoring five times for Hoffenheim, 14 on loan to Eintracht Frankfurt and 10 for Hannover.

From StokeCityFC.com:

“To play in the Premier League has always been an ambition of mine. It is a fantastic league with great clubs, of which Stoke City is certainly one.
“I know there were other teams in Europe who wanted to sign me but once I had spoken to the people at Stoke I knew I wanted to come here and be a part of this club.”

A successful transition to the Premier League for Joselu would be a big aid as Stoke looks to assert itself in both domestic Cup competitions while advancing up the Premier League table.

Diouf, Walters and Crouch scored a total of 27 Premier League goals for Stoke, while Bojan added four in an injury-shortened by hopeful season. If Joselu works well with Bojan, the Potters may’ve just struck goal.