Although a win would not mean the Eagles would be mathematically safe, head coach Armin Veh is confident three points against the Reds would be a decisive step in the right direction.
Done and dusted
"If we win tomorrow's game, then I'd say we will have reached our objective for the season," explained Veh, who has just four games left in charge of the club he will leave in the summer. To help his relegation-beating cause, the Augsburg-born coach can welcome Pirmin Schwegler back for the first time in a month. "I'm expecting him to be able to play," Veh said. "I'm delighted to have the option of Pirmin again. His ribs and nose are fine."
Veh can also count on his number one goalkeeper Kevin Trapp to keep the likes of Didier Ya Konan, Artjoms Rudnevs and Lars Stindl at bay. "He's fit and will play," the outgoing Eagle said of his first-choice custodian. "We haven't picked up any other injuries in the past two training sessions."
Rising to the challenge
His opposite number Tayfun Korkut, meanwhile, will have playmaker Szabolcs Huszti at his disposal again after the Hungarian missed last weekend's pivotal 2-1 win over Hamburger SV through suspension. Like Frankfurt, the Reds could practically start preparing for top-flight football next season with three points on Thursday, although they are not willing to get too far ahead of themselves just yet.
"The win against HSV can only be the first step towards relieving the tension," 96ers president Martin Kind told bundesliga.com in an exclusive interview. "The team still aren't as solid as we would like them to be, but I've spoken to the players and they've assured me that they're going to rise to this challenge."
Kind also believes Korkut has what it takes to steer Lower Saxony's capital club to safety. "He's totally convinced me," he continued. "He's very dedicated and hard-working and a good motivator and communicator. He's a great guy and can count on my 120-per-cent support."
That being said, Hannover's 40-year-old coach does not intend to take his foot off the gas any time soon. "We're in a situation which may look comfortable, but that can turn in just one game," Korkut warned. "I'd like to warn against too much euphoria. We're nowhere near safe yet. We've put a difficult time behind us, but we know that we still need points."
Frankfurt: Trapp – Jung, Zambrano, Madlung, Djakpa – Russ, Schwegler, Meier – Barnetta – Aigner, Joselu
Hannover: Zieler – Rajtoral, Marcelo, Schulz, Pander – Schmiederbach, Andreasen – Bittencourt, Stindl, Huszti – Ya Konan