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Hannover 96 wobbling to relegation playoff

It's been a tough second half of the season for Hannover, who are now right in the middle of the battle against relegation. It's doubtful whether they can do enough against Freiburg this Saturday.

The maths: Anything is possible

Hannover 96 needs to win this Saturday against Freiburg if they want to be absolutely sure of staying up next season. A draw would make things a bit more complicated. If they draw, and Stuttgart beats Paderborn and Hertha loses by more than one goal in Hoffenheim, then the 96ers will be heading to the relegation playoff. The Reds could even go down directly, if they don't get a point and both Stuttgart and Hamburg win their games.

But, after their 2-1 away win against Augsburg last Saturday, Hannover's chances of playing in the top flight in August are better than they were a week ago. Before that they had gone 16 games without a win.

"I don't need to say that this was a big moment for me emotionally," said Michael Frontzeck after the game. The club's president was trying to keep a lid on the excitement though.

Hannover team celebrate

The Hannover team had reason to celebrate after beating Augsburg

"People shouldn't be getting euphoric, it makes me feel a bit unwell," said club president Martin Kind. "Staying grounded is important now."

The mood: Concentrated on the job

Despite - or maybe because of - the close points situation at the bottom of the league at the moment, Hannover's management has decided not to display the results from other grounds this weekend, during the game against Freiburg.

"My players should concentrate on the job they have to do," says Frontzeck, who has ordered his players into a short training camp in a monastery this week, ahead of the game.

One good bit of news this week is the return of midfielders Leonardo Bittencourt and Manuel Schmiedebach back into the Hannover squad. Bittencourt had been out for several weeks with a muscular tear, while Schmiedebach had missed the game in Augsburg for a similar reason.

Lars Stindl

Hannover captain Lars Stindl will be moving to Borussia Mönchengladbach next season

The prognosis: Two extra games

Michael Frontzeck has said that he won't be pulling any weird tactics this weekend, in the match against Freiburg.

"The only people that can play for a specific result, are the Italians," according to the Hannover coach. But, since neither team will want to risk a loss, the chances are high that the match between Hannover and Freiburg will end in a draw.

Freiburg would be safe with just a draw, but split points would probably mean that Hannover will have to head to the relegation playoff with the third-best team from the second division. There, they could come up against Kaiserslautern, Darmstadt or Karlsruhe. A Bundesliga team like Hannover, should still have the edge there.