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Posts Tagged ‘ Didier Ya Konan ’

LOI V Bundesliga: A Steep Learning Curve

The League of Ireland has once again fallen victim to the underrated force of the Bundesliga after Hannover 96 all but ended St Patricks Athletic’s European dream after securing a three nil away win in Dublin.

The first leg tie saw goals from Leon Andreasen, Christian Pander and Didier Ya Konan break Saints hearts and all but end the tie as the contest. The Saints travel to Germany on Thursday for the second leg which is nothing but a formality but it could have been so different had Liam Buckley’s men claimed a well deserved goal.

The Inchicore side will travel to Hannover with pride at stake and will bow out of Europe with their heads held high after a great Europa League run saw them knock out IBV of Iceland and Siroki Brijeg of Bosnia before coming up against the might of the Germans, something they weren’t phased by.

Indeed it’s not the first time Ireland’s most consistent European club has felt the gulf in quality between the League of Ireland and the Bundesliga, a league which is arguably the toughest in the world. Hertha Berlin knocked Pats out of the Europa League in 2008 despite the Saints claiming a credible nil all draw at the RDS, which could have easily swung in the Saints favour.

Fast forward to 2012 and Die Roten proved a more brute force than their Bundesliga rivals. Hannover haven’t had any great European history but in recent years they have shown their form and prowess. The 2010/11 season saw an amazing fourth place finish for the men from Lower Saxony and ensured they ended their 19th year absence from competing on the European stage. Few could have predicted that finish for Mirko Slomka’s side yet the best was yet to come from the German side, who marched all the way to the Europa League quarter finals only to lose out to eventual winners Atletico Madrid.

This season offers another venture in the Europa League for Slomka’s side, who beat Pats 3-0 without really hitting their top gear. While 3-0 was incredibly flattering to the Germans, Pats deserve tremendous credible for their valiant second half showing. The League of Ireland is a world away from the Bundesliga both on and off the pitch but the determination and heart of St Patricks Athletic has shown that if lady luck was on their side it would have been a different story. In the end the clinical finishing of Hannover killed off the tie, although Brendan Clarke should have done better to save Pander’s free kick while there was a suspicion of offside about Ya Konan’s finish.

St Patricks Athletic have long been regarded as one of Ireland’s top clubs and their consistency on the European stage is far greater than any other club despite Shamrock Rovers tremendous feat of reaching the Europa League group stages last year.

Pats have an incredible home record in the Europa League but when they reach the crunch stage the very fact that they have to move their home tie from Richmond Park seems to be something of a mental hindrance. The Saints have enjoyed many great nights in Inchicore and have saw off some good sides such as Elfsborg, Krylya Sovetov and Siroki Brijeg. Such victories have brought the might of clubs such as Hertha Berlin, Steaua Bucharest, Karpaty Lviv and Hannover 96 to Dublin. European football is a tremendous learning curve and a whole different game to the domestic league.

If Pats can learn anything from their illustrious opponents of which Hannover are no doubt the finest then we may well see Ireland’s European club crack the Europa League year after year.

But until then Saints fans must remain content in the knowledge that fantastic European nights come at the expense of domestic success, as has been proven year upon year.

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Scout Report: Five Hannover Players Pats Must Be Wary Of

St Patricks Athletic square off against Hannover 96 tonight in the Europa League. With a pulsating tie in store, Irish News Review takes a look at the five biggest threats that could potentially hamper St Patricks Athletic’s European dreams.

Mohammed Abdellaoue

The Norwegian international poses the greatest threat to Pats ambitions of Europa League success. The former Valerenga striker, who made his international debut against the Republic Of Ireland, has been a success since he joined Hannover in 2010, bagging 21 goals in 54 games to date. The Pats rearguard will have to be at their best to keep the clubs top scorer from last season at bay and ensure they don’t concede an away goal.

Dider Ya Konan

The former Ivorian footballer of the year is a significant player for Die Roten, with his performances last season catching the eye of Bayern Munich amongst others. The former Rosenborg star is extremely talented although his goal ratio isn’t the best. Konan has scored 29 goals in 80 games since making his move to Germany three years ago but his talent cannot be underestimated. Konan is the player who makes Mirko Slomka’s side tick and Liam Buckley will have briefed his side on the importance of stopping the Ivorian international.

Szabolcs Huszti

Huszti rejoined Hannover on July 23rd after a three year spell in Russia with Zenit St Petersburg. The former Hungarian international is a welcomed addition to Slomka’s side and will provide some much needed experience on the wings. His pace and ability pose a threat to any side and the Pats wingers will have to be solid in their defensive duties to keep Huszti quiet.

Ron Robert Zieler

German international keeper Zieler is the man tasked with keeping Supersaints striker Christy Fagan quiet. This challenge between the duo pits two ex Manchester United youths against each other. 23 year old Zieler joined Hannover in 2010 and quickly established himself as the club’s number one keeper. Sir Alex Ferguson showed great faith in the youngster’s ability by plucking him from FC Koln at the tender age of 16.

Steve Cherundolo

American international Cherundolo is something of a legend in Lower Saxony having spent his entire club career with Hannover 96 to date. The man affectionately known to Die Roten fans as “Dolo” should make his 350th appearance for the club in next week’s return leg in Germany. Club captain Cherundolo is one of the most underrated full backs in the Bundesliga and will pose a threat going forward.

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