Hannoverscher FC's colours were black-white-green, but they played in blue, while BV played in red. The newly united team kept black-white-green as the club colours, but they chose to take to the field in red, giving the team the nickname Die Roten (en: The Reds). The team's third jersey is in the club's official colours.
The club made regular appearances in the national playoffs through the early 1900s, but were unable to progress past Eintracht Braunschweig, planting the seeds of a rivalry that has survived to this day. HSV continued to field strong sides and make national level appearances on into the 1920s.
Under the Third Reich German football was re-organized into sixteen top-flight leagues in 1933 and Hannover became part of the Gauliga Niedersachsen. They appeared in the country's final rounds in 1935 and sent representatives to the national side the next year. They won their first national championship in 1938 in what was one of the biggest upsets in German football history when they beat FC Schalke 04, the most dominant side in the country in the era. The two sides played to a 3:3 draw before Hannover prevailed 4:3 in a tension filled re-match. In 1942, the team moved to the newly formed Gauliga Braunschweig-Südhannover.
The club resumed league play in 1947 in the first division Oberliga Nord and was relegated, but quickly returned to the top-flight in 1949. Hannover 96's next appearance in a national final would not come until 1954 when they soundly defeated 1. FC Kaiserslautern 5:1. The beaten side included five of the same players who would go on later that year to win Germany's first World Cup in a surprise victory known as the Miracle of Bern.
In 1963, the Bundesliga, Germany's new professional football league, began play with sixteen of the nation's top teams. Hannover played in the Regionalliga Nord (II) that season, but earned promotion to the senior circuit in the following year. The club's advance to the Bundesliga in 1964 was well received as they set a league attendance record in their first year, averaging 46,000 spectators a game.
96 played at the upper level for a decade, until finally relegated to the 2nd Bundesliga Nord for the 1974-75 season. They bounced right back, but were again sent down, this time to spend seventeen of the next twenty years in the second tier.
The team's low point came with demotion to Regionalliga Nord (III) for two years in 1996-98: the fact that the fall from the second league came during their anniversary year unfortunately made them a laughing stock among fans of rival teams for years to come. Hannover made a fresh start with a new team of hungry youngsters, many of whom went on to play for the national team (Gerald Asamoah, Sebastian Kehl, Fabian Ernst) or impress in the Bundesliga. 96 returned to tier II play in 1998, and to the Bundesliga in 2002 on the strength of a record setting 75 point season.
Since their promotion the club have consolidated in the top flight, achieving a string of mid-table finishes under the command of several managers. Current coach Dieter Hecking was brought in just weeks into the 2006-07 season after a disastrous start under Peter Neururer, in which the club lost the first 3 matches by a combined 11 goals. The club's situation was stabilised and they came close to a earning a European spot by season's end. After just falling short of UEFA Cup entry in the previous campaign, the club sought to boost their firepower, signing Mike Hanke from VfL Wolfsburg, Benjamin Lauth from Hamburger SV and Christian Schulz from Werder Bremen. They showed some early promise with impressive pre-season wins over Rangers and Real Madrid, and a safe passage through to the 2nd round of the DFB Cup. However, they were put out of DFB Cup play in a third round extra-time loss to FC Schalke 04 and earned mixed results in their opening six Bundesliga matches. The team then put together a three match winning run, capped by a 2:0 win at champions VfB Stuttgart, to surge into the top six. Following the winter break Hannover slipped after putting forth some disappointing performances which they turned around to be defeated only 2 times in their last 11 matches of the season. This secured a points record of 49 for Die Roten in the Bundesliga thus ending them in 8th place.The 2008-2009 season started undesirably for 96 with loses to Schalke 04, Vfb Stuttgart and Bayern Leverkusen. However it has been rectified with a 5-1 thrashing of Borussia Monchengladbach and a shock 1-0 win over Bayern Munich at home,which hadn't occurred for 20 years. Hannover are settling and increasingly aware that their abilities can get them into a European Cup place.
|1999-2000||2. Bundesliga (II)||10th|
|2001-02||2. Bundesliga||1st (promoted)|
Hamburger SV is seen as a friendly club whose supporters share the rivalry with Werder Bremen. Both clubs are often referred to as HSV.
For recent transfers, see List of German football transfers summer 2008.