Hannover head to Berlin staring into the abyss

Hannover 96 travel to the capital to take on third-placed Hertha Berlin on Friday, with their chances of beating the drop hanging by a thread (kick-off 20:30CEST/18:30GMT).

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Bottom of the table since Matchday 18, the Reds sit some ten points adrift of safety following last weekend's 3-0 home defeat to Hamburger SV - a game which cost head coach Thomas Schaaf his job. Under-19s boss Daniel Stendel has been handed the unenviable task of assuming first-team duties for the final six games of the season.

Read: Hannover part company with Schaaf

Watch: Hannover 0-3 Hertha

The 42-year-old could scarcely have wished for a more testing debut, although he will have been encouraged by Hertha’s uncharacteristically limp performance against Borussia Mönchengladbach. The Old Lady went down 5-0 at BORUSSIA-PARK on Matchday 28, but still hold a three-point advantage over the chasing pack in the neck-and-neck race for a place in next season's UEFA Champions League.

Watch: Gladbach 5-0 Hertha

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Matchday 12 rewind: Hannover 1-3 Hertha

Matchday 29 - match stats

    Hertha's heaviest defeats of the Pal Dardai era have both come against Gladbach (5-0 and 1-4).On average, Hertha conceded a goal every 20 minutes against Hertha compared to every 101 minutes over the course of the season.Stendel made 96 appearances as a player for Hannover, scoring 12 goals.Hertha have failed to score in five of their 11 Rückrunde matches. They scored in all but two of their 17 outings during the Hinrunde.Hannover goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler has not missed a kick in the Bundesliga since 9 April 2011 (170 matches). Sepp Meier, Uli Stein and Harald Schumacher are the only goalkeepers to have made more consecutive Bundesliga appearances.

Possible line-ups

Hertha: Jarstein – Weiser, Stark, Lustenberger, Plattenhardt – Skjelbred, Cigerci – Haraguchi, Darida, Kalou – Ibisevic

Absentees: Allagui (light training), Brooks (knee/back)

Coach: Pal Dardai

Hannover: Zieler - Sakai, Milosevic, Schulz, Sorg - Sane, Hoffmann - Karaman, Kiyotake, Prib - Hugo Almeida

Absentees: Andreasen (ankle)

Coach: Daniel Stendel

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