Michael Frontzeck's Hannover side play host to Pal Dardai's surprise package Hertha BSC on Friday evening at the HDI Arena.
Overview and Form
Despite lying in a less than impressive 14th position in the table, Hannover will come into this game full of confidence having overturned a goal deficit to leave Hamburg last weekend clutching on to three valuable points. Two goals, from Hiroshi Kiyotake and Salif Sané, in eight second-half minutes saw die Roten overturn Michael Gregoritsch's early strike.
Prior to this victory, however, they had only taken eight points from their opening ten matches; a cause for concern for Frontzeck.
Hertha, on the other hand, who flirted with relegation for a long period last season, have been somewhat of a surprise package so far this season. They've accrued an impressive 17 points from their opening eleven matches and currently occupy 6th position - a Europa League qualifying spot.
Last time out, they were humbled at home to Andre Schubert's Borussia Mönchengladbach, who have witnessed a serious upturn in form since Lucien Favre's departure. A 1-4 home reverse will be something Dardai will be keen to rectify as soon as possible.
Hertha hold the upper hand in head-to-head matches, having won 25 of the 60 previous meetings between the two clubs. 20 meetings have ended in draws and Hannover have 15 wins to their name. More recently, however, in the last couple of seasons, it's Hannover who hold a slight advantage, having avoided defeat in the last two seasons, claiming a draw and a win apiece in both seasons. In fact, Hertha's last win against Hannover came way back in early 2010.
The home side remain with quite a lengthy list of absentees including Tim Dierßen, Charlison Benschop, Valmir Sulejmani and Edgar Prib, who will all remain missing from Friday evening's match, whereas Frontzeck is optimistic Hiroshi Kiyotake will be available.
Hertha also have an unwanted lengthy injury list of their own. Thomas Kraft, Peter Pekarik, Niklas Stark, Änis Ben-Hatira, Sami Allagui and Julian Schieber are all sidelined for the visit to Hannover, whereas Vedad Ibisevic will serve the final game of his suspension.
Pal Dardai previewed Hertha's away trip to the capital, saying: "The team had a valuable workout today and we want to go with a good feeling into the international break." He continued: "The basic concept remains the same in Hannover. That we will pull through and come back with one or three points." Hannover manager Michael Frontzeck commented on Hertha's impressive start to the season, saying they have "earned the points" they have acquired, "they haven't been stolen".