Hannover '96 0 Aston Villa 0
Martin O'Neill is not a man known for rushing into decisions. He takes his time, savours them like a fine wine, then usually gets it just right.
O'Neill has had plenty of chances to come back into football management once more after leaving Celtic for family reasons.
He could have ended up at Newcastle United or Middlesbrough and, even when the Aston Villa job was offered up to him on a plate, the former Leicester City manager chose to wait a while during a period of turmoil at the club.
But despite Villa being in limbo at a time of takeover speculation, O'Neill knew that if he was to have any chance of being able to turn this squad into one capable of competing in the Premiership, then he had to take the job now.
O'Neill put business concerns to one side with American billionaire Randy Lerner, and other consortia, still to finalise the buying of Doug Ellis's major shareholding in Villa.
It was a case of O'Neill doing what he does best, football. He knew he had to be on Villa's pre-season tour of Germany and Holland to make sure that the team were prepared for a top-flight campaign that begins at Arsenal's new Emirates Stadium a week on Saturday.
For O'Neill, this week is a crash course in turning around a downtrodden squad, lacking in confidence after Villa's worst ever season in the Premiership and badly in need of a lift.
Saturday's performance will have told O'Neill only part of the story. Which brings us back to the manager considering his thoughts.
Once more, the Villa boss was not hurrying when it came to delivering a verdict on his new players.
O'Neill had not prepared as he would normally do. He was only officially announced as Villa manager on Friday evening and his media duties ensured he was at his new place of work for some hours.
The next morning, O'Neill rose early, flying from London to Germany where he took a seat in the stands at the AWD Arena to check the form of his new team.
That proved difficult as well, with three midfielders and two strikers on the injured list.
So O'Neill knew there was no point in providing an instant assessment. For him, the real work began after the game as he prepared for a week of intensity on the training ground.
It is asking a lot to rebuild Villa's resolve in a little under a fortnight but if anyone can do it he can.
A team that had become moribund under David O'Leary can at least feel motivated again.
O'Leary had a tendency to build up the opposition ahead of his own team. He did that last season before the game at Arsenal and Villa had lost before they even took the field for what turned out to be a 5-0 thrashing. O'Neill will not bring such pessimism to Villa Park.
Villa spent much of Saturday's game defending against a dominant, yet wasteful, Hannover side. Captain Olof Mellberg needed to be at his best while Thomas Sorensen made up for an early slip by pulling off two impressive saves in the second half.
Going forward, it was young striker Gabriel Agbonlahor who caught the eye. Kevin Phillips, who could now be on his way to former club Sunderland, squandered Villa's best chance when he put his shot wide after good work by Agbonlahor.
But Phillips was perhaps lucky to stay on the field after a rash tackle on Szabolcz Huszti, a player who was once a target for West Bromwich Albion. There was a clash of heads but, luckily, the card colour was yellow.
The one major positive of the second half was the appearance of Dane Martin Laursen for 17 minutes after a year out with a knee injury.
He was able to get his first taste of first team action since the opening game of last season - in front of a watchful O'Neill.
HANNOVER 96: (4-1-3-2) Enke; Tarnat, Zuraw, Bergantin, Cherunldolo; Balitsch; Huszti, Bruggink, Yankov; Hashemian, Stajner.
ASTON VILLA: (4-4-2) Sorensen; Hughes (Delaney, ht), Mellberg (Laursen, 73), Ridgewell (Cahill, ht), Bouma; Gardner, Whittingham (Samuel, 56), Berson (DjembaDjemba, 56), Barry; Phillips (Moore, ht), Agbonlahor.
Bookings: Hannover: Huzsti, Balitsch; Villa: Phillips Attendance: 35,604 Man of the match: Mellberg, assured display