'It could be tricky for us'

The Werkself play on Sunday night for the fifth time this season – and, up to now, always away except for the home game against Fortuna Düsseldorf. It's the same this time when Peter Bosz's team visit Hannover 96 on matchday 25. "If I've learned one thing then it is that there are no easy games in the Bundesliga," warned the Werkself head coach ahead of the game against the team in the relegation zone in 17th place.

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The head coach on the game: "It could be tricky for us," said Peter Bosz looking to disregard the disquiet gripping the second from bottom team from Lower Saxony at the moment. "I don't know what's happening or will happen at Hannover. So I can't prepare my team for that. But as the coach of Bayer 04 Leverkusen I can prepare them for the way we want to play on Sunday and what I expect from them. The most important thing is always what we want to do. And that's the only thing I want to focus on," said the 45 year-old Dutchman at the pre-match press conference on Friday afternoon. Bosz emphasised the good form of his team over the past few weeks had not happened by itself: "We really have to work hard, battle  and keep on improving the way we play. At the end of the day, our opponents watch how we play and try to find answers to counter it. And that means we have to find answers to deal with their answers." There has recently been clear progress with the Werkself in terms of keeping hold of the ball according to  Bosz. In spite of being the favourites against Hannover 96, who lost 5-1 against fellow strugglers VfB Stuttgart last Sunday in a tussle for the play-off spot, he appealed to his players: "We need all our focus and concentration on this game."  

The injury situation: A day before the final pre-match training session, the scorers from the meeting earlier in the season Lars Bender and Karim Bellarabi took part in full training again on Friday morning – as did Panos Retsos  who has been working on his comeback for the past two weeks on the training ground following his recent injury. A decision on any of the three being in the squad for Sunday will be decided after the last training session on Saturday before the Hannover 96 match. "We'll have to wait and see if there is any reactions. We'll find out tomorrow," said Bosz. Joel Pohjanpalo is definitely ruled out as he only returned to training this week after a long spell on the sidelines due to his ankle injury. And Sven Bender could well miss out following the head injury he suffered in the 2-0 victory over SC Freiburg last Saturday. "He didn't train today. If he wants to be in the squad then he'll have to train tomorrow. I think it will be a close run thing for Sven," said Bosz.

The referee: The match on Sunday night will be refereed by Sören Storcks (Velen). For the 30-year-old master carpenter (17 Bundesliga games) it will only be his second match in charge of the Werkself.  His first last season was also in the  black and red meeting with Hannover 96 at the HDI Arena. That game on 17 December 2017 ended in a 4-4 draw . The man from Münsterland will be assisted by Thorben Siewer and Markus Schüller. Christian Dietz is the fourth official. The VAR referees are Deniz Aytekin and Michael Bacher.

The previous meeting: Hannover 96 visited the BayArena  on matchday eight on 20 October 2018. The team from Lower Saxony were 16th in the table two points behind the Werkself in 14th position. The Werkself made a bright start to the game under the coach at the time Heiko Herrlich but failed to take the lead – due in part to the Hannover keeper Michael Esser saving a Wendell penalty. Following that, the team promoted in 2017 were on equal terms with the Black and Reds and they took the lead on 25 minutes with a free kick from Florent Muslija. The following period of pressure from the visitors ended when the Werkself captain Lars Bender levelled the scores at 1-1 with a volley into the top right corner on 34 minutes. That helped settle Bayer 04. Less than ten minutes after the restart came the next setback for the Werkself: Felipe restored the lead for the visitors, then coached by André Breitenreiter, from a corner on 54 minutes before the defender was shown a second yellow card for handball a few minutes later. With the extra man, the Werkself pressed for the equaliser and succeeded in creating a number of good chances in the closing stages before Karim Bellarabi fired in the leveller in added time to earn a hard-fought but deserved 2-2 draw.


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