• Kyodo


Hiroshi Kiyotake set up a goal but was unable to help struggling Hannover secure maximum points as it drew 2-2 away to Genki Haraguchi’s Hertha Berlin on Friday in the Bundesliga.

Trailing Vedad Ibisevic’s third-minute opener, Kiyotake received a back-heel from Manuel Schmiedebach outside the box and thread through a reverse pass with his left foot for Artur Sobiech to steer home first-time in the 18th minute.

“There was no point in switching sides in that situation so I tried to break down the middle,” Kiyotake said about his sixth assist of the season, and his side’s first goal in four games.

Schmiedebach gave coach Daniel Stendel, in charge until the end of the season following the dismissal of Thomas Schaaf on Sunday, the second goal of his tenure in the 58th minute off the right-hand post.

But Hertha, currently third and in an automatic Champions League qualification spot, leveled through Salomon Kalou’s scrappy finish in the 72nd.

Kiyotake and right-back Hiroki Sakai played the whole game for Hannover, while Hotaru Yamaguchi missed out after suffering a broken nose and upper jaw while playing for Japan in the World Cup second qualifying round last week. Haraguchi played the full 90 minutes for Hertha.

Bottom-side Hannover, without a win in six, is nine points off safety with five games to go but Sakai said “the whole thing including the atmosphere” changes with the new coach.

Kiyotake said, “It’ll be best if we can give the best we have in each game.”

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