With a new manager in place, Hannover look to put an end to their run of losses this season. Thomas Doll will be up against it however with RB Leipzig the opponents, his side look likely to struggle…
Hannover v R B Leipzig
Friday 1st February, 19:30
With midweek seeing struggling manager, André Breitenreiter, replaced with Thomas Doll, the writing was on the wall for Breitenreiter as his Hannover side produced only eleven points in the league and sit joint bottom with Nurnberg as a result. Doll will have his work cut out with the Die Roten (The Reds) as the side currently have no wins in eight Bundesliga matches.
Despite fairing slightly better at home, with one win in five home games, Hannover’s troubles come from being unable to score goals at home this season. On average the home side have scored less than a goal per game (0.78) while playing at the HDI Arena, further damning the home side’s chances is the fact that they habitually concede goals as well, with on average conceding one goal per home match (1.67). Doll will need to establish a main goal-scoring threat, if he means to help his Hannover side to safety this season. Currently, goals have been a premium both home and away with the goals being shared amongst his team. The most anyone has scored in Hannover colours this season is three, Ihlas Bebou (currently injured), Bobby Wood and Hendrik Weydandt the top scorers, the latter two strikers haven’t hit the target since late November and early December respectively.
In terms of goals, there has been a trend of late between Hannover and RB Leipzig, each of their previous meetings have ended with over 2.5 goals been scored and both teams having scored by the end of the game. This was apparent in their last clash at the Red Bull Arena, where Leipzig ran out 3-2 winners. This shows their inability to keep out goals, and capitalise on the very few goals that they do score. Hannover have the second worst defence in the league having shipped forty-one goals, the only team to have worse defensive stats than that is Nurnberg, who prop up the table in 18th position.
Before their 4-0 win at Fortuna Dusseldorf, Leipzig were on a barren run of five away losses in all competitions, troubling RB Leipzig coach, Ralf Rangnick, is the fact that they had failed to score in four of those five games. The strikers: Yussuf Poulsen and Timo Werner, who had been prolific at home both went through a scoring drought, with only Poulsen able to remedy his lack of goals, with two last weekend against Dusseldorf.
Despite disappointing away form, Leipzig still find themselves 4th in the Bundesliga, a position they can thank their defence for. Overall, Leipzig possess one of the best defences having only conceded eighteen goals this season. However this form eludes their defence on their travels as eleven of those goals alone have been conceded in their away games. Scoring goals remains just as much a problem away from home, as they have only scored eleven in nine home matches, that on average is little over a goal per game (1.22).
A reason for RB Leipzig’s shortcomings in away games could be their inability to dictate the tempo of the match. At home, Leipzig score 55% of their goals in the First Half, whereas in away matches it is split down the middle at 50%. Their lack of a foothold early on in away matches may leave them unsure whether to attack their opponents and leave themselves open at the back or defend and invite pressure from the home side.
RB Leipzig face Hannover with minimal absentees, Bruma and Kevin Kampl facing fitness tests after picking up injuries that ruled them out of their last match, the away side go into this in relatively good shape. The Swedish attacking midfielder, Emil Forsberg, making his return from injury from the bench last week against Dusseldorf, give Rangnick needed creative options to break down Hannover.
Adversely, Hannover still miss key components to their squad through injury such as: Bebou and Hubers to long term injury. Adding to that list is Fullkrug and Maina, who got injured before the January winter break. However there is positive news regarding their defender; Felipe, as the Brazilian may return from his injury through illness.
Be cautious of Leipzig returning to their old away form…
Despite finding the net four times and conceding no goals against Dusseldorf, stats do not point to a high scoring game that previous meetings may suggest. For the game to end with over 2.5 goals been scored is priced at (4/7).
However with the Europa League not a distraction for Leipzig in this one, the win last weekend giving them confidence and the weaknesses that Hannover possess in their depleted squad, Leipzig should be able to defeat the home side. With the bookies pricing an away win at 1/2 they too see Leipzig as the favourites going into this one.
More value will be found by adding conditions to the Leipzig win, such as Leipzig to win and for over 2.5 goals to be scored in the game has odds of 6/5. However with Leipzig lacking away goals, Leipzig and Over 1.5 goals to be scored may prove to be more successful, with odds of 8/11. With the notion of Hannover continuing to lack goals under new boss Doll, value may be found in Handicap markets, with Leipzig -1 given odds of 6/4.
Something to keep your eye on, is the number of booking points during the game. Hannover and RB Leipzig are currently 2nd and 3rd in the Bundesliga fair play charts, respectively, for the highest number of points from the amount of cards they have picked up this season.
In terms of scorers, Werner continues his drought in away matches but has odds of 8/11 to score anytime, however Poulsen to score anytime with odds of 5/6 is deemed less likely to score than his strike partner, despite the Dane scoring a brace against Dusseldorf last weekend.
RB Leipzig to win and Over 1.5 goals (8/11)
RB Leipzig to win -1 (6/4)
Poulsen to score anytime (5/6)