Schalke 04 v Hannover, Sun 14:30
After failing to reach the semi-finals of the Europa League, both Schalke 04 and Hannover 96 will be hoping to make the best of their domestic campaigns with eyes firmly fixed on qualifying for European football next season, as Bluesq offer attractive odds on Mirko Slomka’s side.
However, the realistic goals of each side won’t be in the same vicinity as this weekend’s hosts, Schalke, look likely to tie down a place in next seasons Champions League while Hannover will be hoping to seal a spot in the Europa League.
The two teams are currently 13 points apart with Schalke sitting in third while Hannover fight for their place in fifth; a position that is by no means assured with four other sides just one point behind them.
Schalke’s impressive season owes mush of its success to the home form of the club, who have sacrificed just seven points at the Veltins-Arena this season.
Die Knappen have netted an average of 2.79 goals per game when playing on home ground this campaign, failing to score in just 7% of those games.
Klaas Jan Huntelaar and Raul have of course been the main contributors in that scoring process but Huub Stevens will be confident that his defence can also stand firm against the Hannover threat this weekend with his team conceding just 0.86 goals per home fixture on average this season.
While Schalke were ejected by an ever improving Athletic Bilbao, Hannover saw Europa defeat at the hands of Atletico Madrid but may now be glad to concentrate their efforts on matter in the German top flight.
Die Roten managed to earn a 2-2 draw in the reverse fixture earlier in the campaign but given their record away from home, Hannover may not be so confident of replicating that result when playing on unfamiliar soil.
Mirko Slomka’s side have earned just two victories from away games this season and after a good showing against Bayern Munich two weeks ago, will be hoping to put up a decent fight against an always threatening Schalke outfit.