DFB Pokal PREVIEW | Hannover 96 vs Borussia Dortmund

Hannover 96 are hoping to make history with a cup upset on Wednesday after selling out on all 49,200 tickets for their second-round DFB Pokal tie against Borussia Dortmund at the historical Niedersachsenstadion.  

The ‘Schwarz-Weiß-Grünen’ reached the second round of the cup following a 3-0 away win against fourth tier Schott Mainz and are currently fifth in the 2. Bundesliga. Hannover have enjoyed a good season so far, picking up 17 points from 11 matches including an impressive 1-0 away win at Hansa Rostock, but came up short against Hamburg and Heidenheim. H96 go into the game against Dortmund following a 2-0 win at bottom-placed Arminia Bielefeld on Saturday.

Hannover have an infamously loyal fan base but have sold just 14,000 season tickets this season after finishing 11th in the 2021/22 season. This campaign however the fans have again been flocking to games. The derby against Eintracht Braunschweig (1-1) was sold out, only 42,000 were allowed in due to concerns about potential crowd problems in the traditionally fiercely contested derby. Likewise, the match against Northern rivals HSV was attended by 49,000.

Since Friday, tickets for the second-round game DFB Pokal match against Dortmund are also no longer available. Speaking to Sport Bild, Hannover sporting director Marcus Mann (38) believes the backing of the fans can be instrumental in a push to reach the promotion places: “Eleven games into the season and we have already had three home games sold out, that is something which genuinely inspires the team. There is a spirit of optimism spreading at the club. There is definitely something coming together here.”

Mann is also looking forward to the cup tie: “After Bayern, BVB was probably the most difficult draw in the pot. Everyone at the club is looking forward to the challenge. After reaching the quarter-finals last season anything is possible with a full stadium behind us, we definitely intend to sell ourselves as dearly as possible.”

Eighth-placed Dortmund however will be a challenging tie for ’96’. After going out to St Pauli in the last 16 in last year, ‘Die Schwarz-Gelben’ will be determined to progress at the Niedersachsenstadion.

Speaking ahead of the game, BVB head coach Edin Terzic praised Wednesday’s opponents: “Hannover play courageous and intense football, they have the most tackles in the second division. We are aware of our role as favourites, but we will need an exceptionally good performance to progress.”

Terzic’s men swept past 1860 Munich in the first round in July and despite unexpectedly dropping two points against Sevilla at home last week, are in a good position in the Champions League and only need one point from their last two games against Manchester City (25/10) and away at FC Copenhagen (2/11) to reach the last 16. 

In the league, Dortmund have had a mixed run of results in recent weeks with an unexpected loss at Cologne but they showed impressive determination turning over Bayern Munich’s 2-0 lead to gain an invaluable point in the Klassiker. However on Saturday, BVB lost 2-0 to Bundesliga leaders Union Berlin following several individual errors. 

Statistically, Dortmund have the edge in 61 encounters between the teams. BVB have 29 wins and 16 draws against Hannover but on Wednesday they’ll continue to be without Mahmoud Dahoud, Mateu Morey, Jamie Bynoe-Gittens and Sebastien Haller. Marco Reus, who suffered a rupture to his ankle in the match against Schalke, hasn’t travelled with the squad, according to Ruhr Nachrichten, despite featuring at the weekend.

Probable Starting XIs:

Hannover: Weinkauf – Muroya, Neumann, Börner, Köhn – F. Kunze – Leopold, Besuschkow – Kerk – Nielsen, Weydandt

Borussia Dortmund: Kobel – Meunier, Hummels, Schlotterbeck, Guerreiro – Bellingham, Özcan – Adeyemi, Brandt, Malen, Moukoko

GGFN | Ben McFadyean

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