MARKUS Rosenberg followed up his training match strike against Tamworth with an equaliser against Hannover 96 – but it proved in vain as the Germans ran out winners in the opening match of Albion’s pre-season Austria trip.
The Sweden international partnered new signing Nicolas Anelka in attack – and the latter proved influential in the game at the Gleisdorf Stadium.
But it was the Bundesliga outfit who took the lead on 28 minutes when former Manchester United forward Mame Biram Diouf cashed in on Ben Foster's under-hit pass.
And 96 took the honours ten minutes from time when Craig Dawson was unfortunate to see fellow substitute Christian Pander’s shot deflect off him into his own net.
The opening 15 minutes saw both sides struggling to hold onto possession in the intense heat.
The first real shot of the game came in the 16th minute when Anelka latched onto Liam Ridgewell’s pass and fired straight at the keeper from the edge of the box.
A minute later Diouf hit a fierce 25-yard effort that flew just past Foster’s left-hand post.
The Baggies came within a whisker of opening the scoring on 24 when Gabriel Tamas headed Graham Dorrans’ free-kick back across goal and Gareth McAuely was just unable to force it past goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler.
Hannover immediately broke and Diouf was in the thick of the action again as he fired a skidding 20-yard shot just past the right-hand post.
Four minutes later Valmir Sulejmani pounced on Foster’s misplaced pass and quickly found Diouf in the box.
He tucked the ball under the Baggies keeper as he challenged at his feet and stole a lead – but the Senegal international was injured in the process and was replaced by Artur Sobiech on the half-hour mark.
An excellent move by Albion down the right flank saw them level four minutes before the break.
Anelka exchanged a quick one-two with Billy Jones before feeding the ball into the path of James Morrison.
The Scotland international centred for Rosenberg, who bravely finished from six yards as he collided with Zieler.
Hannover made three changes at the break with Tim Dierssen, Pander and Adrian Nikci replacing Karim Haggui, Sulejmani and Sebastien Pocognoli.
And they made a good start to the second half, with Lars Stindl firing straight at Foster on 52 when he had the whole goal to aim at inside the box from Pander’s low cross.
Five minutes later Stindl forced Foster into a good save low to his left as he pounced on Huszti’s cross, which the Baggies backline failed to deal with.
Steve Clarke made eight changes just past the hour mark as Steven Reid, Dawson, Jonas Olsson, Goran Popov, Liam O’Neil, Kemar Roofe, Adil Nabi
and Saido Berahino came on for Jones, McAuley, Tamas, Ridgewell, Claudio Yacob, Chris Brunt, Anelka and Rosenberg.
The Baggies youngsters showed real vigour and on 70 Berahino almost gave Roofe a clear sight of goal – but Zieler was quick off his line to smother the ball.
With ten minutes to go Hannover snatched the lead back when substitute Pander’s strike from just inside the box ricocheted into the net off the helpless Dawson.
The Germans survived a late Dawson header at the other end and almost added a third when Sobiech robbed Dawson of the ball and fired his shot off the foot of the right-hand post.
ALBION (4-3-1-2): Foster; Ridgewell (Popov 61), McAuley (Dawson 61), Tamas (Olsson 61), Jones (Reid 61); Dorrans (Gayle 76), Yacob (O’Neil 61), Brunt (Roofe 61); Morrison (D Daniels 76); Anelka (Berahino 61), Rosenberg (Nabi 61). Subs not used: Myhill, L Daniels.
HANNOVER 96 (4-4-2): Zieler; Avevor, Karim (Dierssen HT), Ballas, Sebastien; Sulejmani (Pander HT), Pocognoli (Nikci HT), Prib, Huszti (Sulejmani 71); Schlaudraff, Diouf (Sobiech 30). Subs not used: Miller, Hoffmann, Kadah, Capin.
GOALS: ALBION – Rosenberg (41). HANNOVER 96 – Diouf (28), Dawson (og 80).
BOOKINGS: ALBION – O’Neil (foul 79). HANNOVER 96 – Zieler (kicking ball away 25).
REFEREE: Julia Baier.
ALBION STARMAN: James Morrison.