Bundesliga 2 leaders Darmstadt are likely without Aaron Seydel as they seek to extend their lead by hosting Hannover and Ron-Robert Zieler on Friday (kick-off: 6.30pm CET).
Former German U21 international Seydel played a minor role during Darmstadt so far this season, contributing to a crucial goal to win a Draw 3-3 in Kaiserslautern in September. He last appeared in 2-1 win in Karlsruhe who sent the Lilies High for the first time this year, but Torsten Lieberknecht’s side have not won since. Nevertheless, two 1-1 draws with Holstein Kiel and St. Pauli were enough to keep them at the top. They stay just one point above Hamburg and three in front Paderborn in third, but given they’re kicking off the day’s action, a win will apply early pressure and get them up for the weekend before Paderborn goes to Heidenheim on Saturday and Host HSV Regensburg on Sunday. Top scorer with six goals Philippe Tietz will continue to lead the line, with captain Tobie Kempe – top provider in the division with seven assists – acting as the supply line behind.
Skipper Zieler has been an omnipresent goal for a Hanover team undefeated in three without conceding a goal. In fact, five of their seven victories this season have been clean sheets for the 2014 FIFA World Cup winner, who has just six out of 300 appearances left to go. die rotten. Stefan Leitl’s men start Matchday 15 in fifth place but could move up to third overnight if they inflict a second defeat of the season at Darmstadt. Harvard Nielsen leads the club’s scoreboard on six after trailing Leitl from Greuther Furth in the summer, but five goals Cedric Teuchert is sidelined with a muscle sprain. Bayern Munich lent Luminous Arrey-Mbi also seems to have found his place in the squad and started the bottom two in central defence.
Look: Hanover followed suit with a 2-1 win over Karlsruhe
- Tietz is Darmstadt’s top scorer with six goals this season. However, he has only scored in two out of seven home games.
- Kempe is Bundesliga 2’s top provider this season, with seven assists.
- The Lilies have not lost at home in nine matches since the 30th day of last season (5-2 against Schalke).
- Zieler repelled a league high with 63 shots on goal heading into Round 15. It is also best for clean sheets (six).
- Nielsen – who has six league goals this season – has produced two goals and as many assists in five career appearances for Darmstadt.
- Hannover have lost four of the six Bundesliga 2 meetings with Darmstadt so far, winning and drawing.
Darmstadt: Schuhen – Pfeiffer, Müller, Zimmermann – Bader, Mehlem, Ronstadt, Holland (c) – Kempe – Manu, Tietz
Out: Gjasula (muscular), Honsak (back), Schnellhardt (knee), Warming (ankle)
Doubtful: Seydel (muscular)
Coach: Torsten Lieberknecht
Hanover: Zieler (c) – Neumann, Arrey-Mbi, Börner – Muroya, Besuschkow, Kunze, Köhn – Beier – Nielsen, Weydandt
Out: Teuchert (muscular)
Coach: Stefan Leitl