Karlsruher SC vs Hannover 96 Preview: Slomka faces his old love

Karlsruher SC vs Hannover 96 Preview: Slomka faces his old love

Karlsruher SC host promotion favourites, Hannover 96 at the Wildparkstadion this Saturday. KSC are in need of a victory, can they beat the strong Hannoveraners?

Boris Gradečak

Mirko Slomka's Karlsruher SC were demolished at the Millerntor last Monday by FC St. Pauli, having lost 5-0 in a relegation battle. The Blue-Whites, who are 17th in the league table, are now three points from safety in 15th, and seven off 14th. A win is very important, especially now after the terrible outcome last Monday night.

Hannover 96 are currently second in 2. Bundesliga, just one point above third and five points behind first, held by VfB Stuttgart. Last week's 2-2 draw at home versus Arminia Bielefeld was certainly not the outcome that heach coach Daniel Stendel had hoped for. An away victory at Karlsruhe this weekend would be a much-needed boost for the Reds.

Slomka versus his former club

It will be a very special game for KSC head coach Mirko Slomka this Saturday. Hannover 96 are the team Slomka experienced a lot with in his coaching career. More than half of his coaching career was spent in Hannover, with his biggest achievement being the qualification for and participation in the UEFA Europe League. However, he will have to shut down all his feelings towards Hannover and focus on KSC.

The 5-0 defeat at St. Pauli last Monday was a real shock. Both Oliver Kreuzer and Slomka were speechless in the post-match interviews. "This was absolutely terrible. That's the way a relegation-team plays football. This was not 2. Bundesliga standard," said sporting director Oliver Kreuzer after last week's match. "We had a match-plan, we had tactics. When I see, that our players create the complete opposite, I will definitely have to make things clear again."

He added, "Their last coach did not give them any match-plans or tactics and the players complained. Now Mirko Slomka is here, gives them everything in detail, and the players don't follow it. The Name 'Slomka' does not mean KSC holds the class in the league."

Slomka made clear that he had analysed the match during the night, after it had happened: "We've discussed it in a special meeting with the team last Tuesday and I've made things clear in all hardness and bluntness. The situation is serious and we have to make the right decisions if we want to survive in the league." 

Mentality shall beat quality

"It is normal that one to two times per season teams have bad games where nothing works at all. Though, this 5-0 defeat was really bad timing," Slomka explained. "We lost 5-0 in St. Pauli with this match-plan; How is that possible? As I coach I have to evaluate that and eventually make things easier for the team, but also establish clarity." 

Nevertheless, the focus is all on the Hannover match. The 49-year-old did not reveal any names that could start on Saturday. He definitely will make a few changes, though his key is "mentality beats quality". The KSC fans could play an important role at the weekend. Slomka and Kreuzer hope that more people will make their way to the Wildparkstadion to support their team, the increased support should help the team to keep their focus up. 

Stendel is cautious 

Daniel Stendel's men will also have to make up for their weak performance last week. A 2-2 draw at home with Bielefeld was not was Stendel and his men had hoped as two important points went begging. An away victory shall make up for last week's game and get Hannover closer to Stuttgart in the league table.

Stendel watched last week's Karlsruhe game against St. Pauli, and warns: "I expect a highly motivated opponent who is up for redemption." 

"We obviously want to improve our performance, we want to be successful. That is our main aim this year, and that's everything that counts. We are hardly satisfied, regardless if we win or loose, because we still can play better and want to make it better", explained the head-coach during the press conference. 

It could be possible that Noah Joel Sarenren Bazee starts in Karlsruhe on Saturday. He is an alternative, said Stendel, who will have to do without suspended centre-back, Salif Sané. Waldemar Anton should move into the centre-back position to cover and Fynn Arkenberg will continue at right-back. 

Predicted Line-ups

Karlsruher SC: (4-4-2) Orlishausen; Bader, Figueras, Thoelke, Kempe; Yamada, Kom, Meffert; Stoppelkamp; Diamantakos, Mugosa.

Hannover 96: (4-2-3-1) Tschauner; Arkenberg, Anton, Felipe, Prib; Bakalorz, Schmiedebach; Karaman, Maier, Klaus; Harnik.