Just two days after the end of matchday 23, the next set of Bundesliga games began. Wolfsburg had a World Cup winner to thank in Hannover, while Cologne were hoping not to lose a third consecutive game by a single goal.
Hannover 0-4 Wolfsburg
(Schürrle 36', 59', 62', Draxler 69')
Andre Schürrle has never quite found his feet at Wolfsburg. A handful of decent displays have failed to justify his €32-million-euro price tag. Having managed just one goal in his previous 23 Bundesliga appearances this season, the former Chelsea winger stole the show on Tuesday night in Hannover, scoring a 26-minute hat-trick.
Although not considered a true derby by many Bundesliga fans, Hannover against Wolfsburg is certainly a local match-up between two teams with little love for one another. Before the football had started, the visiting fans hurled a flare that landed in the Hannover dugout. The German FA are expected to dish out hefty fines, and it isn't the first time they've had to for this fixture.
On the pitch, the action was far less threatening for the opening hour. With just one win in their last ten league games, Wolfsburg were as desperate for form as their hosts, who were coming into the game off the back of their first victory since November 2015.
Despite their home advantage, Hannover were far too passive. Ron-Robert Zieler kept out Luiz Gustavo's close-range header, but when Julian Draxler slipped in Andre Schürrle, not even Germany's number three could save Thomas Schaaf's side. Schürrle shrugged off the attention of Hiroki Sakai and put Wolfsburg ahead off the far post.
In their last eight games against Wolfsburg, Hannover had only lost once. The club's record suggested a much greater love for the fixture than was on display on Tuesday night, and they paid for it. Having missed a chance for a second, Schürrle eventually doubled up when he rifled home after Hannover failed to clear a corner. Just 166 seconds later, the 25-year-old controlled the ball superbly on his chest before sending a fantastic, dipping volley past Zieler to complete his hat-trick (his first in the Bundesliga).
Schürrle missed the chance to make it four, but Draxler didn't. The 22-year-old dinked in to add some gloss to the scoreline and make Hannover look like a side doomed for relegation.
Ingolstadt 1-1 Cologne
(Hinterseer 36' - Modeste 71')
Having lost their last two games by a single goal, Cologne were desperate to avoid yet another defeat, let alone by the same scoreline. Had Leonardo Bittencourt got a touch to Yannick Gerhardt's low cross then Peter Stöger's side would have been ahead. He didn't and inside the final 10 minutes of the first half, Lukas Hinterseer drifted into the box to give the home side the lead instead. It was deja vu for Cologne, while Ingolstadt celebrated scoring their first goal from open play in a long time (the seven before had all come from set-pieces).
With the game drifting towards a seemingly inevitable conclusion, superb individual work from Marcel Risse handed Cologne an equalizer. Having seen his first effort saved, Risse showed great awareness to head the ball across to Anthony Modeste to put home his 11th goal of the season. Marvin Matip's header nearly put Ingolstadt back ahead and Modeste acrobatically tried to find a winner, but a draw was a fair result for the two mid-table neighbors.