Preview: Hannover v Bayern

Bayern

Hannover 96 will be aiming to move further away from the relegation zone when they host in-form Bundesliga champions FC Bayern München on Saturday.

Bundesliga
Date: 21 April 2018
Match Day 31
Kick-off: 15H30 local time
Venue: HDI-Arena
Referee: M. Petersen
Assistants: T. Reichel, J. Neitzel
Fourth official: M. Schüller

Head-to-head summary: 

TEAM             MATCHES  WIN   DRAW   LOSS

Hannover              55           9          7         39         
Bayern                   55          39        7         9

Previous encounter: 

Bayern 3-1 Hannover 02/12/17 (Bundesliga)

Bayern goalscorers: A. Vidal (17'), K. Coman (67'), R. Lewandowski (pen 87')

Hannover goalscorers: C. Benschop (35')

Players to watch: 

Striker Niclas Fullkrug has been leading the goal-scoring charts for Hannover this season with 14 in 32 appearances and was also on the scoresheet recently in the 1-1 draw with VfB Stuttgart, while fellow forward Martin Harnik has bagged nine in 28 games. 

Robert Lewandowski has enjoyed a sensational season in front of goal. The Pole has scored 38 goals in 42 games, but should he be rested, Sandro Wagner would be the one to look out for. He has netted eight goals in 12 games and netted a brace against VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach last weekend.

Team form and manager quotes: 

The hosts remain in danger of relegation as they sit only six points above the danger zone with four games left to play. However, a win over Bayern would virtually secure their Bundesliga status for another season.

Hannover recently recovered form a five-game losing streak that sent them tumbling down from seventh to 13th in the standings. They bounced back with a 2-1 win over SV Werder Bremen and most recently drew 1-1 at Stuttgart.

"Jupp Heynckes has calmed down FC Bayern this season. He has transferred confidence to the team without missing the sense of purpose," Hannover manager André Breitenreiter told the press.

"It's a great honor to be on the sidelines with him. We talked longer in the first leg before the match and then on the sideline. This is also the size of a person: That he does not give anyone the feeling that he is the head coach.

"He is completely down to earth, sympathetic. It's great to witness and absorb such experiences."

Meanwhile, the visitors have been in fine form recently. In their last six games, Jupp Heynckes' side hammered Borussia Dortmund 6-0, FC Augsburg 4-1, Monchengladbach 5-1, and Bayer 04 Leverkusen 6-2. They have lost only once in their last 25 games in all competitions.

However, Hannover may take heart from the fact that Bayern have already secured the Bundesliga title and may be distracted by the upcoming Champions League semi-final clash with Real Madrid on Wednesday.

Heynckes told his press conference: "Hannover have played a very good season overall. Of course you have internal problems sometimes. They do good work, which is very compact, especially at home, and have a good foundation. That is a credit to their coach."

When asked about rotating his team, he added: "Of course, I will not nominate some players from the beginning. But I'm going to set up a team that can win the game."

Team news: 

Oliver Sorg should be back in defence but Felix Klaus is unavailable due to a one-match suspension.

Bayern have doubts over David Alaba while Corentin Tolisso is not ready to rejoin the team. 

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