Hannover 96 has been one of the most debated teams in the last two seasons. The club has tried to block a hostile takeover and the fans have been absolutely livid, chanting angrily at the opportunistic Martin Kind and his money.
Now it seems to have cooled down a slight bit, but the club is not looking as good as last season, having lost two key leaders to Bundesliga rivals. Both Salif Sané and Martin Harnik were key players in the squad that almost fought for Europe last season, which also was their first season back after dropping down in 15/16. The club had a marvellous season under André Breitenreiter, but things do now look rather dire and some doubts seem to be rising in Lower Saxony.
Breitenreiter has the ability to transform something capable to something almost magical. He did it sporadically at Paderborn, sporadically at Schalke and sporadically at Hannover, a team that has become one of the best home teams in Bundesliga. Because most wonders in football can be achieved with a good manager and good home support. But how will they actually fare?
Their summer has been rough. They lost Sané to Schalke, Harnik back to Bremen and Felix Klaus to Wolfsburg and haven’t really brought anyone worth mentioning in. Niclas Füllkrug is still in, which is great for them, but it does look a tad stale. One signing that has become sensationally good for them is Henrik Weydandt, an amateur who was supposed to play for Hannover 96 II. He performed both in the cup and in the first league game and was given a professional contract by Martin Kind and the other high-ranked officials at Hannover. One would be stupid to assume that he would decline such an offer.
Managerial Background – André Breitenreiter
André Breitenreiter has a history of good coaching, but he rarely performs well in the league table. He finished last with Paderborn and flopped properly at Schalke. When he was given the role at Hannover, most people knew what to expect though. Good coaching with an atacking state of mind. But there were some doubts and those seem to linger. He’s done well so far at H96 and has brought some hope to Lower Saxony, but the must be wary. Things can turn ugly real quick, something he has good experience of.
The expectations are to finish mid-table. Having lost key players, expecting Europe would be a step too far for them.
Starting XI (4-2-3-1)
Tschauner- Sorg, Anton, Wimmer, Ostrzolek- Schwegler, Walace- Bebou, Haraguchi- Füllkrug, Asano
By Axel Falk.