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2018-19 Bundesliga Preview: Hannover 96

Burnley v Hannover 96 - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

In their first year back in the Bundesliga Hannover 96’s only goal was to avoid relegation which they did rather comfortably. Hannover did not have the most talented roster but ex-Schalke coach André Breitenreiter did a good job getting the most out of this squad. Now in their second season back in the Bundesliga they will try to establish themselves as a mid-table team.

Last Season

Bundesliga: 13th place - 39 points (10W-9D-15L)

DFB Cup: 2. Round - 1:0 loss against VfL Wolfsburg

Uneventful is the best word to describe Hannover’s last campaign which was probably to their liking. Before the season they were a candidate for a relegation battle but that never really happened due to a great start. After 10 games they found themselves in 4th place with 18 points which led some to believe the “96’s” could maybe make a surprise run and end up somewhere close to the top 6.

However after their good start Hannover faded just as quickly and slowly but surely got passed through to the second half of the table. And even though they had a period of 6 games without a victory in the Rückrunde they managed to avoid a true relegation battle and stayed in Germany’s top tier.


Transfers in:

  • Walace (DM) - Hamburger SV - 6€ million
  • Genki Haraguchi (LW) - Hertha BSC Berlin - 4.5€ million
  • Josip Elez (CB) - HNK Rijeka - 2.5€ million
  • Kevin Wimmer (CB) - Stoke City - Loan (1.5€ million fee)
  • Bobby Wood (ST) - Hamburger SV - Loan (1.2€ million fee)
  • Takuma Asano (ST) - Arsenal - Loan (1€ million fee)

Transfers out:

  • Salif Sané (CB) - Schalke 04 - 7€ million
  • Felix Klaus (RW) - VfL Wolfsburg - 3€ million
  • Martin Harnik (ST) - Werder Bremen - 2.25€ million
  • Florian Hübner (CB) - Union Berlin - 0.5€ million
  • Jonathas (ST) - Corinthians - Loan (0.2€ million)

The losses of Salif Sané, Felix Klaus and Martin Harnik weigh heavy especially considering that all three of them left for transfer fees below their market value because of release clauses.

This meant Hannover had to get creative with their replacements and they mostly tried to sign multiple players in order to distribute the burden of replacing them on several players. The best signings are probably on offense where they added an experienced winger in Genki Haraguchi and two promising striker in Bobby Wood and Takuma Asano. Wood had a disappointing season with HSV but the American international will look to bounce back with Hannover.

Their defensive signings are a bit more risky, Walace is a talented player but their are questions surrounding his attitude and work ethic. Furthermore they will need one of the centerbacks, Josip Elez or Kevin Wimmer, to step up and fill the void left by Sané. A tall order for a relative unknown in Elez and a player like Wimmer who disappointed in Tottenham and Stoke.

What to expect in 2018/19

A very difficult season lies ahead for Hannover. They lost arguably their three most important players and had barely any money available to replace them. Players like Waldemar Anton and Nikals Füllkrug will need to step up this season, plus they will need a few of their signings to hit.

On the bright side they started their season with a dominant 6:0 victory over Karlsruher SC in the DFB Cup and looked pretty good. In addition they have added Linton Maina to their roster who was pulled up from their youth system, the 19-year-old winger looks promising and is considered one of Germany’s biggest talents at his position.

Prediction: Battling relegation

It is said that the second season back in the Bundesliga is harder than the first and that might be true for Hannover. They just lost too much talent to realistically consider anything else than a battle to stay in the Bundesliga. Even if everything goes their way it is hard to imagine anything more than a mid-table finish for Hannover 96.