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Bundesliga

  • January 28, 2011
  • • 19:30
  • • BayArena, Leverkusen
  • Referee: M. Gräfe
  • • Attendance: 28013
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Bundesliga Preview: Bayer Leverkusen – Hannover

Bundesliga Preview: Bayer Leverkusen – Hannover

Goal.com previews the upcoming clash between Leverkusen and Hannover.

Leverkusen Aiming To Dominate Match & Improve Home Record

Leverkusen enter Friday’s crunch clash with Hannover on a high note, having beaten 'Gladbach 3-1 in their previous match. In doing so, die Werkself reclaimed second place, although they still have much to do if they are to qualify for the Champions League.

Their opposition on Friday is a Hannover side that thus far has surpassed all expectations, having earned more points in just over half the year as in the previous season. Ahead of Friday’s match, Gonzalo Castro complimented the Saxons.

“They’re a good footballing side who are up near the top for a reason,” he said according to the official Leverkusen website.

Former 96 man Hanno Balitsch was also respectful, but anticipated a win justified by Leverkusen’s quality.

“Of course, I hope we can win on Friday night, as Hannover are one of our main rivals. We’ve got more quality on the pitch.”

Even so, Leverkusen will have to improve on their home form if they are to take three points. Die Werkself have won just one of their last four matches at the BayArena, a record upon which Rene Adler believes his side can improve.

“We have a lot of catching up to do in terms of results at home. It’s not how we’d imagined it, so it’s up to us to make it right,” the goalkeeper said. “It’s our aim to go out and dominate the opposition for 90 minutes.”

Set Pieces The Key For Hannover

Hannover were disappointed to lose 1-0 last week after playing 90 minutes of good football against Schalke. However, die Roten have recovered from the match and enter Friday’s encounter with Leverkusen with their heads held high.

Coach Mirko Slomka has helped the Saxons to an impressive 34 points from 19 matches and third place in the Bundesliga table. For his efforts, the Croat was offered a contract extension to 2013, which he signed earlier this week.

Slomka anticipates “an incredibly difficult match,” but knows his “team are hungry for success.” He went on to praise the talent his opponents will bring to the pitch.

“With Michael Ballack, Arturo Vidal and Renato Augusto, Leverkusen have enormous amounts of quality in the middle of the park. Especially Ballack who is still indisputably a top player, international quality like that is always helpful.”

Nonetheless, Slomka believes in his team’s ability, and has singled out execution of set pieces as crucial to the 96 cause. Should they climb their Everest on Friday, Hannover will be second only to Dortmund.

TEAM NEWS

Bayer Leverkusen


After his impressive performance as a substitute against 'Gladbach, Michael Ballack is expected to be given a starting role at the base of an attacking diamond. Patrick Helmes has been omitted from Jupp Heynckes’ squad for disciplinary reasons, while Sven Bender, Tranquillo Barnetta and Benedikt Fernandez have all been ruled out for lack of fitness.

Probable Starting XI: Adler – Castro, Reinartz, Hyypia, Kadlec – Vidal, Rolfes – Renato Augusto, Ballack, Sam – Kiessling

Hannover

Slomka is expected to make no major changes to his squad; the only position in question is that of central defence, where Emanuel Pogatetz is tipped to start ahead of Mario Eggimann. Jan Schlaudraff, Carlitos, and Leon Andreasen, meanwhile, are all set to miss out due to injuries.

Probable Starting XI: Zieler – Cherundolo, Haggui, Pogatetz, Schulz – Stoppelkamp, Schmiedebach, Pinto, Rausch – Abdellaoue, Ya Konan

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
15René AdlerGoalkeeper
24Michal KadlecDefender
3Stefan ReinartzMidfielder
4Sami HyypiaDefender
3Daniel SchwaabDefender
27Gonzalo CastroDefender
13Michael BallackMidfielder
6Simon RolfesMidfielder
23Arturo VidalMidfielder
10Renato AugustoMidfielder
11Stefan KießlingStriker
36Fabian GieferGoalkeeper
17Domagoj VidaDefender
18Sidney SamMidfielder
18Nicolai JörgensenStriker
5Hanno BalitschMidfielder
5Manuel FriedrichDefender
19Eren DerdiyokStriker
Prediction
It won’t be easy for either team, but this one should go in favour of the hosts. The stability formed by the central midfield triangle of Vidal, Ballack, and Rolfes means that service to the Hannover forwards will be very limited, and that they will be heavily marked in possession. Between Sam, Renato Augusto and Kiessling, Leverkusen have more than enough quality to win the match.
Editor's Prediction

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