For much of the season, Hannover looked resigned to relegation, but then they stubbornly fought back. Frankfurt's victory over Mainz though, has ended their hopes of remaining in the top flight for next season.
For the fifth time in the club's history, Hannover were relegated from the Bundesliga on Sunday due to Eintracht Frankfurt's victory over Mainz. By collecting all three points, Frankfurt made it mathematically impossible for Hannover to climb into 16th place, the relegation playoff spot by the end of the seaason.
After 14 years in the top flight, the news comes as a tough blow for a side that only three years ago reached the knockout rounds of the Europa League. This season, though, has been a nightmare for the northern club and the confirmation on Sunday was an inevitable end to a forgettable campaign.
With just 22 points from 31 games, Hannover are nine points adrift from safety and have only won two games since the restart.
Since winning promotion in 2001-02 as winners of the second division, Hannover finished inside the top 10 on five occasions and twice qualified for the Europa League. After dismissing Mirko Slomka, the man who led them to fourth, seventh and ninth-place in three consecutive seasons, the club struggled to find stability on the pitch. Tayfun Korkut came in but failed to convince, and although Michael Frontzeck saved the club from relegation on the final day of last season, he resigned a few months into his two-year deal.
In came Thomas Schaaf, a head coach who had never been relegated from the Bundesliga, but Hannover looked even worse under the experienced Bundesliga coach. Despite taking over when Hannover had 14 points from 17 games - and were just one win away from leapfrogging into 14th - Schaaf collected just one win in 11.
Too little, too late
In came youth coach Daniel Stendel and instantly it looked like a good decision taken at the wrong time. The side picked up five points from his first three games in charge, but it was all just too late for the club.
With only pride to play for now against Schalke, Hoffenheim and Bayern, Hannover's bigger concern will be how to keep hold of their leading players. World Cup-winning goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler seems destined for a move, with Leverkusen reportedly interested, while Hiroshi Kiyotake and Salif Sane will likely also be offered the chance to stay in the Bundesliga.
Whether poor coaching, questionable leadership from chairman Martin Kind or just not enough quality, Hannover are left with a lot of work to do if they're to return to the top flight straight away.