Hoffenheim and Hannover eye return to winning ways

Sinsheim - TSG 1899 Hoffenheim welcome Hannover 96 to the WIRSOL Rhein-Neckar-Arena on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 17:30 GMT / 18:30 CET) in a meeting between two sides with European aspirations.

bundesliga.com has all the pre-match info ahead of this weekend’s clash in Sinsheim…

Aside from goalkeeper Koen Casteels (broken leg) and Adam Szalai (suspension), Gisdol has a fully fit squad to choose from for the Matchday 13 encounter. Eugen Polanski and Sejad Salihovic (pictured) return to the side following injury, while South Korean defender Jin-Su Kim could be in line for his second start of the season.

Having struggled to make an impact against runaway leaders FC Bayern München last Saturday, Brazil international Roberto Firmino is guaranteed to see much more of the ball against the Reds this weekend. Firmino, who scored his first Selecao goal this month, also netted twice in Hoffenheim’s last home match against 1. FC Köln.

Former Hoffenheim man Joselu has endured a slow start to his Hannover career. The Reds’ loan striker has scored just twice since his arrival at the HDI Arena this summer, but will fancy his chances of adding to that modest tally against a defence that has leaked eight goals in their last two league matches.

Markus Gisdol (Hoffenheim head coach): “Hannover are a solid team. The number of 1-0 wins they’ve recorded shows how disciplined they are.”

Tayfun Korkut (pictured, Hannover head coach): “They have a lot of quality in the final third. If we’re not completely focused, they’ll cause us problems.”

After going the first nine games of the campaign unbeaten, Hoffenheim have now lost their last three Bundesliga matches. Hiroshi Kiyotake (pictured) and Co., meanwhile, slumped to their first defeat in four against Leverkusen last time out and are looking to get back on the winning trail in Sinsheim.

Hoffenheim have won seven of their twelve meetings with the Reds, who have never left the WIRSOL Rhein-Neckar-Arena with all three points. The Lower Saxony outfit have only ever beaten their hosts on three occasions, the most recent of which was on Matchday 21 of the 2012/13 season, when Mame Diouf scored the only goal in a 1-0 win at the HDI Arena.

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