Defying the stats
Hannover 96 face VfB Stuttgart at the Mercedes Benz Arena at 15:30 CET on Saturday. Jürgen Kramny’s side are one of the best sides in the league in 2016 with 13 points from a possible 15.
- Before Hannover, 15 teams have had 14 points after 22 matches – all have been relegated!
- The Reds suffered their 16th defeat of the season – more than the whole of 2014/15 (15).
- Hannover have not scored in four Bundesliga matches. That has only happened on one previous occasion (5 games in late 2002).
- Thomas Schaaf’s side have lost their last eight Bundesliga matches – the club’s personal worst is nine consecutive defeats.
- Stuttgart have won their last three home league games. The last time they managed four consecutive home victories was almost four years ago under Bruno Labbadia.
- Hannover have won nothing on the road for several months, having lost their last five away games. The Reds have also failed to score in their last three away from home.
- VfB have lost none of their last six matches against Hannover – their best record against any club.
- Hannover have actually lost 16 of their last 19 games in Stuttgart.
- Daniel Schwaab has never lost against Hannover (eight games) and scored his only Bundesliga goal against 96 (1-0 home win last season).
- Hannover will be without: Andreasen (compressed ankle), Bech (muscle tear), Gülselam (suspended), enschop (knee operation and pubic bone problems), Almeida (suspended), Szalai (muscle tear).
- Stuttgart will be without: Barba (thigh tear), Baumgartl (not fit after appendix operation), Didavi (suspended), Ginczek (torn ACL).
Battle of the day
This match against one of the best sides in 2016 is about our Reds putting greater stress on attacking than in recent games. The meagre return of one goal in five games since the winter break should be helped by the return of midfield maestro Hiroshi Kiyotake, who is expected to start against Stuttgart after a foot injury. As for the hosts, they will be without top scorer Daniel Didavi on Saturday following his suspension. The Romanian Alexandru Maxim is expected to fill in in midfield for the home side.
The differences could hardly be greater. Whilst the 1-0 loss against Augsburg was Hannover’s eighth consecutive defeat in the Bundesliga, Stuttgart’s draw at Schalke saw them extend their unbeaten run to eight. What does that mean for 96 then? The 3-1 win in the reverse fixture was their Stuttgart’s first three points after five defeats and set them on their way to their current run. Why could the Reds not do the same?
No win since 2012
However, the head-to-head from the last five games does not speak well for Hannover. There have been two draws in the last two seasons as the HDI Arena, but two defeats at the Mercedes Benz Arena in those seasons (4-2 and 1-0). The last win for 96 over VfB was in November 2012 with a 4-2 victory in Stuttgart. Goal scorers on that day included Artur Sobiech.
Hannover 96: Zieler - H. Sakai, Hoffmann, Milosevic, Sorg - Yamaguchi, S. Sané - Karaman, Kiyotake, Prib - A. Sobiech
VfB Stuttgart: Tyton - Großkreutz, Schwaab, Niedermeier, Insua - Serey Dié - Rupp, Maxim, Gentner, Kostic - Ti. Werner