Bundesliga Preview: Hannover 96 vs. Schalke 04

By
Updated: August 14, 2014
Schalke 04

Match Date: 23 August 2014 (local time)

Venue: HDI Arena

 

Both Schalke 04 and Hannover 96 almost fell into the relegation zone last season due to a series of unfortunate events. The Royal Blues struggled with their injury issues whilst the Reds had to deal with its inconsistent performance. Nevertheless, both teams were able to recover and even pulled off a strong finish towards the season’s end. Schalke qualified in the Champions League again and Hannover occupied the 10th spot of the Bundesliga table.

 

With a set of shared experiences that they can use against each other, which of the two will survive their first clash in the season?

 

The contenders

Hannover 96

Hannover had a roller coaster ride last season. As mentioned, the club found itself flirting in the relegation zone, if not for the tactical mastery of Tayfun Korkut. Korkut was unable to raise the bar higher for the club, but definitely, a 10th place finish is more forgivable and understandable than losing the squad’s top-flight status.

 

Due to the fact that the Reds was unable to outshine its 9th place finish last 2012/ 2013, expect the squad to target not just a higher spot, but a possible qualification in the Europa League.
The Reds snatched some good deals in the transfer market as shown in  the signings of Joselu and the Japanese scene-stealer, Hiroshi Kiyotake. This should give them the strength to not only survive but also attack every opponent that will prevent them from achieving their goals.

 

Schalke 04

Schalke had to endure the long absence of its prolific striker, Jan Klaas Huntelaar last season. It resulted to a temporary dilemma in their attacking department. But a determined Jefferson Farfan, Adam Szalai and the newly-signed Kevin Prince Boateng stepped up to the challenge.

 

The last leg of the previous season witnessed Schalke threatened Borussia Dortmund’s reign in the runner-up spot. But the Borussians were resilient and continuously denied them the opportunity to steal the spotlight. It was disappointing, yet, satisfying as the club ended in 3rd place.

 

Schalke’s ability to survive and even pull off a good finish readily makes them a strong title contender. It also solidifies its reputation as one of Bundesliga’s seemingly invincible powerhouses.

 

Possible head turners

Many are waiting for Joselu and Kiyotake to feature in the upcoming match. The two players have an impressive resume to boot and this should translate to scoring more victories for Hannover.

 

As for Schalke, Julian Draxler readily featured during Huntelaar’s absence and many expect a more brilliant Draxler this season despite reports of being sidelined due to injury issues.

 

Huntelaar is also expected to be the limelight’s focus this season. Many of his supporters hope that the Dutch international will replicate its impressive World Cup performance.

 

What the odds say

The Royal Blues is the apparent favorite of sports betting sites. The squad is pegged to win at a profitable value of 2.28.

 

Image Source: Berliner Morgenpost