14:30 (BST); Saturday 14th October; HDI Arena (Hannover, Germany)
Visitors Eintracht Frankfurt make the journey north to Hannover as they look to enter the top five in the Bundesliga standings. Their opponents Hannover have been excellent in their return to Germany’s top flight sitting in fifth place in the standings and only succumbed to their first defeat prior to the international break. Eintracht Frankfurt have been a strong force on the road with seven of their ten coming away from the Commerzbank-Arena and will look to continue that form in Hannover.
Last time out
Borussia Mönchengladbach 2-1 Hannover
Hannover made the journey south to the Rhineland on Matchday 7 as they took on Borussia Mönchengladbach. Gladbach looked strong in the opening hour in what was a free flowing encounter but neither team able to break the deadlock. It wasn’t until the 67th minute till we saw the opening goal as defender Matthias Ginter scored his first goal in Gladbach colours.
The lead was shortly lived as Hannover’s goal scoring machine Martin Harnik netted his 5th of the campaign to put the visitors level. Harnik had the chance to put Hannover in front but his close range effort rattled the woodwork.
There would be drama in stoppage time as Salif Sane brought down substitute Vincenzo Grifo with referee Christian Dingert pointing to the spot. Even with the use of the Video Assistant Referee, the penalty was given. Thorgan Hazard stepped up and scored to give Hannover a heartbreaking defeat.
Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1 Stuttgart
Eintracht Frankfurt welcomed Stuttgart to the Commerzbank-Arena as Niko Kovac’s side looked for their first points at home. Die Adler were on the front foot in the early going and before half time Ante Rebić would put Frankfurt in front with his first goal since returning from Fiorentina on loan.
However, the Stuttgart fight back came in the second half and just after the hour mark they would strike level. Simon Terodde who had been on the pitch for 37 seconds scoring from close range. Frankfurt would then go to ten men when Simon Falette received a straight red with 26 minutes to play.
A dramatic climax to the contest would pursuit and in added time the ten men of Frankfurt would steal all three points when Sebastien Haller’s audacious acrobatic shot snuck into the bottom corner to send the Commerzbank-Arena into delirium.
André Breitenreiter succumbed to his first defeat in the Bundesliga with Hannover, but his side returns home which has been a fortress for the side this season. With the news that Felipe is out until the new year, Waldemar Anton will go into central defence to partner Salif Sane. A 4-2-3-1 is set to remain for Hannover with Martin Harnik playing as the loan striker. An unchanged Hannover is expected.
Eintracht Frankfurt lineup
Eintracht Frankfurt have been strong on the road and Niko Kovac will look for his side to continue that form in Hannover. Simon Falette who has been excellent for Frankfurt since joining from Metz during the transfer window, but he will miss the next two games after picking up a straight red against Stuttgart.
Makoto Hasebe will return after missing the previous clash with injury. Jetro Willems will return to the starting XI with Taleb Tawatha dropping to the bench whilst Gelson Fernandes is set to return to midfield in place of Marc Stendera.
Key Battle: Pirmin Schwegler vs Mijat Gacinovic
Pirmin Schwegler played five seasons with Eintracht Frankfurt between 2009 and 2014 where the Swiss made 141 appearances for Die Adler before leaving for Hoffenheim. At Hoffenheim Schwegler featured 64 times but the previous two campaigns the midfielder was used sparingly. But now at Hannover, Schwegler is the first name on the team sheet and is arguably of the more important players in the squad. Look for Schwegler to turn the screws for Hannover on Saturday.
Mijat Gacinovic has made headways with Eintracht Frankfurt and the Serbian National Team as he helped Serbia qualify for the 2018 World Cup. His form has caught the attention of Manchester United with Jose Mourinho keeping an eye on the talented midfielder. Gacinovic is known for playing out wide, but when Frankfurt implement wing backs, the 22-year-old finds himself playing in central areas. We look to Schwegler and Gacinovic to be the difference makers for Hannover and Frankfurt on Saturday.
Defending the HDI
Hannover under André Breitenreiter have been unbeatable at the HDI Arena with 11 games without defeat in the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2. In fact, in their last domestic matches, Hannover haven’t conceded at home which is astounding when you consider that André Breitenreiter’s side has almost a different defensive four. Can Hannover keep on of the best away teams out on Saturday?
More of the same
Eintracht Frankfurt possess the second best away record in the Bundesliga taking seven of their ten points on their travels this season. Niko Kovač can attribute their excellent away form thanks to an excellent defensive effort from his side, with only Borussia Dortmund possessing a better defensive record in the Bundesliga. More of the same will be the recipe for victory.
Prediction: Hannover 1-1 Eintracht Frankfurt
One of the best away sides in Eintracht Frankfurt against a Hannover side unbeaten in their last 11 home games sets the narrative for an intriguing battle. Hannover have been firm at home under André Breitenreiter and with Martin Harnik scoring at will, they need more in support if they are to pressure a strong Frankfurt defence.
It will be a tight opening with both sides feeling each other out, but the contest will open up with Hannover and Frankfurt creating chances. I can’t see either side being able to break away and steal the points with the game ending in a draw.
Can Hannover maintain its unbeaten start at home or will Eintracht Frankfurt emerge victorious? Let us know in the comments section below
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