One of the Bundesliga’s most exciting features is the uncertainty of it all. Anyone can beat anyone, and that’s why teams like Hoffenheim a couple of years ago and Mainz now can rise to such great heights. Hannover 96 is another example of this. Last season, the team finished in 15th place, just a few points away from relegation. Now, just a season later, they’re pushing for a European spot and they’re keeping up with the Bundesliga’s best. Oddly enough, they’ve almost swapped places with Stuttgart, who finished in 6th last season and are now fighting a very serious relegation battle just a year later.
Hannover 96′s incredible turn in fortune can be placed on the shoulders of head coach Mirko Slomka, who has really pulled this group of players together and has begun to push them far beyond their limitations. They may not be the most talented squad in the world, but they do play as a tight unit and that’s in no small part down to the manager. They’ll be looking to extend their good form with a comfortable home win here over a Stuttgart side that have looked hopeless this season.
Stuttgart are in real trouble here. Currently, they sit 16th in the Bundesliga table, a whole four points away from safety. Maximum points is a must every week for Stuttgart, but three here are unlikely. Hannover have lost just two of their home games this season, while Stuttgart have won absolutely none of their away games. To say they’re the underdogs here is an understatement.
It’s a Hannover win for me, and it’s another week in the relegation zone for Stuttgart.