Borussia welcomes Hannover 96 - a new beginning on a new green!
Let's start this warm up report with two facts: Borussia is still number 5 of the table and on Saturday against Hannover 96 we will see a totally new green in our Westfalenstadion! And what else happened or will happen next? A lot! And there is a lot for Borussia to improve!
After our unlucky 1:3 defeat in Munich our advance to Bremen and also Frankfurt is now reduced to only two points. In addition to that Bremen's goal difference (+ 18) is much better than Borussia's (+ 2). So our aim is clear: Nothing but a win is necessary to keep our dream of the Europe league alive! For Hannover's team (in Hannover they call their team "the reds") things look remarkably different! Hannover is struggling against relegation, currently at position 16 with only 17 points. After the tragic death of goalkeeper Robert Enke, Hannover gained only one point in the last ten matches. The dismissals of former coaches Dieter Hecking and Andreas Bergmann didn't have any positive change. Since matchday 19 now former Sch...e coach Mirko Slomka is responsible for the team. Hannover hit rock bottom when they lost their last home matches against Dieter Hecking's new club Nürnberg 1:3 and especially last Saturday 1:5 against Bremen. It's difficult for coach and management to find the reasons for Hannover's decline. Is still the suicide of Robert Enke in the players' minds or is it more a quality problem of Hannover's squad? Nobody could give an answer and due to ongoing sporting downfall Hannover engaged a psychologist to influence and improve the team's attitude.
Obviously unimpressed of the club's threatening situation, Hannover's president Martin Kind recently made another effort to reform the so-called "50 + 1 rule" and to increase the influence of investors on football clubs. Definitely not the targets of everyone who wants to be master in his own house! But that's another and of course a difficult matter! Let's take a look into the near future on Saturday:
During the last days there were a lot of discussions about Hannover's defensive. Beside the highest number of own goals in the league (4) especially goalkeeper Florian Fromlowitz got a lot of stick. But coach Mirko Slomka believes in the high qualities of his goalkeeper and so on Saturday we will see him again. Probably midfielders Hanno Balitsch and Sofian Chaled will return, which is for sure an upgrade for Hannover's team. Nevertheless Hannover's list of injured players is long enough. Key players like Forssell, Bruggink, Haggui, Cherundolo or Rosenthal are still hardly missed. Fortunately the list of Borussia's injured players got shorter. Our goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller will return and after his match in Munich Sven Bender is also able to play on Saturday. It seems that his injured knee is fully recovered. Also Leonardo Dede and Tamas Hajnal are able to play. It will be Jürgen Klopp's decision if both or one of them will play from the beginning or we will see them again as substitutes. Together with Roman Weidenfeller, Sebastian Kehl played in Borusia's B-team against Braunschweig (2:0 win) but the match against Hannover would be too early for him. Still injured are Tinga, Feulner and Rangelov.
Nelson Valdez will also return after his ban for one match due to his fifth yellow card. And now very important: Attention! Attention for Nuri Sahin, Lucas Barrios and Marcel Schmelzer: A yellow card for them against Hannover would mean not to travel to Gelsenkirchen next Friday! So please be careful - we need you all for the derby against Sch...e!
And our final thoughts? When Borussia as number 5 elcomes number 16 Hannover the game looks easier on paper than it actually will be! For statisticians (or should I write pessimists?) some additional background information: Since seven matches Borussia has not won against Hannover and also no win in the last five games in our Westfalenstadion (3 draws, 2 defeats)! Not a happy omen for Saturday!
But let's forget all these number crunchings! All we need is a win, all we need are three points!