It’s crunch time for the reds in the Europa League. Thursday night Sevilla awaits in the gruelling heat of Andalusia, and Hannover face a tough struggle to get to the group stage of the Europa League.
Going into the match with a narrow 2-1 lead, the team from Lower-Saxony face two times Uefa-Cup winner (05/06 and 06/07) Sevilla away. The temperature in Sevilla could reach a whooping a hot 33 degrees celsius on the day of the match. More specifically, weather reports indicate temperatures above 25 degrees celsius for the time of the match, which might be a little bit out of the comfort zone for some of the Hannover players who are used to a colder climate.
To make sure that the home team gets all the support it needs from the fans, Sevilla’s chairman José María del Nido sold 4.000 of the tickets to the home fans for a ”buy one, get two deal”, effectively giving a rebate of 50% on the tickets.(Source: bild.de) Sevilla’s strength at home has suffered somewhat lately. The team lost five of its 19 home matches in La Liga last season. Eight teams had a better home record than Sevilla last campaign.
Why this match is important for the coefficient
After 19 years without a game in European competition Hannover 96 beats FC Sevilla 2-1. Surely Sevilla will be out to avenge this upset (Werder Bremen avenged a similar 2-1 loss in the first round 19 years ago), but hopefully with an away goal or two and keeping the game close the 96’ers can knock one of Spain primary teams out of Europa League. Since surpassing Italy in the UEFA coefficients everyone started talking about Germany catching Spain next. However with Mainz being knocked out early, and Schalke’s early deficit (not that I’m not expecting big things from them next Thursday) maybe we should worry more about staying ahead of Italy and keeping our fourth Champions League position. Yes, I know I should stop dreaming so big. I can’t help it.
Hopefully FC Sevilla do not read Bundesliga Fanatic, becasue I am about to share the secret to beating Hannover 96. Score 3 goals, or hold the 96’ers to less than 2 goals (as Hertha Berlin showed on Sunday). Between the Bundesliga season, the DFB-pokal, and now Europa League, Hannover has played 5 games. Three have been a win with a final score of 2-1. Great for Die Roten, but seriously Hannover you guys are allowed to win games by other scores then 2-1. At times I feel like I’m watching the US National Teams. (Seriously, USA every soccer game does not need to be a close, last-minute, epic, drama filled game.)
Other observations from the Sevilla game. Jan Schlaudraff scored his first goal in European competition. Hopefully he can add to his total next Thursday. If he can keep up his scoring ways then between him and Artur Sobiech the pressure for goals won’t be almost entirely on the back of Didier Ya Konan .
All things considered, I am excited for arguably our most important match and can’t wait to see what Thursday will bring. With any luck hopefully passage to the group stage of Europa League and more points for Germany in the UEFA Coefficient will be in Hannover’s future.
What can we expect
Mirko Slomka has tried to bring Didier Ya Konan slowly back into the team by giving him a couple of appearances as a sub. The Ivorian might make a return to the starting line up, effectively sending Jan Schlaudraff or Moa Abdelloue to the bench. Slomka does not have any injury worries at the moment.
Sevilla on their hand are well rested considering that the strike in Spain prevented the team from playing the first round of football. I think that we can expect an attacking Sevilla side, with Hannover waiting for the chance to get a goal from the counter attack. This tactic has worked for them for the entire last season, and hopefully it’ll work again against Sevilla on Thursday night.
Palop – Fazio, Navarro, Spahic, Coke – Medel, Navas, Perotti, Armenteros -Kanoute, Negredo
Zieler – Cherundolo, Haggui, Pogatez- Schulz – Pinto, Schmiedebach, Rausch, Stindl – Schlaudraff, Abdellaoue
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