The Germans score a precious away goal, but the winner from the Argentine gives the hosts a slim one-goal lead ahead of the return match
Radamel Falcao put the Spanish side ahead early on with a free header, before Mame Biram Diouf grabbed an equaliser before half-time. However, Salvio nicked the victory for the hosts in the closing moments.
The home side started the match in complete control, dominating possession and territory. This pressure did not take long to show. Just nine minutes into the game, Gabi lofted a free-kick in from the centre of pitch, and Falcao was free in the box to glance a header past Ron-Robert Zieler, notching his seventh goal in Europe this season.
Hannover were looking despondent and finding it hard to even venture into their opposition’s half. Indeed, Atletico extended their lead with another free-kick from Gabi.
The 28-year-old curled the ball into the box from the right, but Mario Suarez was only able to head onto the roof of the net. Soon after, Adrian Lopez had some space on the right of the box, but he fired the ball wide of the far post.
Falcao then had a big chance to grab his second goal of the game. A ball was floated into the box which hung nicely for the Colombian, but he could only head over the bar.
The Spaniards were soon made to pay for their wastefulness, as Diouf brought his side level against the run of play. Lars Stindl sent in a pinpoint cross from the right, and the Senegalese striker slid in to poke the ball into the net with his left foot to secure a precious away goal.
The hosts came out strongest in the second-half. Gabi drove forward and teed up Falcao, whose shot flashed past the far post. Adrian then had a free header from a corner, however he could not position himself appropriately, and his effort was off target.
Diego Simeone’s team were beginning to look frustrated and the Germans were sensing an historic victory in Madrid.
Diouf so nearly put the visitors in front on the night after Didier Ya Konan whipped in an impressive cross. The 24-year-old made a good connection, forcing a crucial reaction save from Thibaut Courtois.
The Manchester United loanee was on form and demonstrated his confidence as he attempted an audacious volley from outside the box, the ball sailing wide of the target.
While Atletico had faded away since the first half hour, Hannover were growing more comfortable as the match went on, seemingly settling for a draw.
However, Salvio had other ideas. With minutes remaining, he held off a challenge and curled a delightful shot into the top right-hand corner of the goal. Then in stoppage time Diego nearly made it three with his volley being saved well by Zieler.
With both teams languishing in eighth place in their respective domestic leagues, winning this competition could be their only way back into Europe next season. This tie remains in the balance, with it all to play for in the return leg at Hannover next week.