Hannover could climb back into the top half of the table if they make home advantage count against out-of-form Mainz on Saturday (15:30 CET/14:30 GMT).

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The home side have signed Croatian defender Josip Elez, after a run of one win in seven games before the winter break. Andre Breitenreiter is unlikely to tinker too much, however, with the team that earned a confidence-boosting 4-4 draw with in-form Bayer Leverkusen in their final game of 2017. That said, the experienced Marvin Bakalorz could replace Norwegian youngster Iver Fossum in midfield.

Mainz signed midfielder Nigel De Jong earlier this month and also welcomed back Nigerian striker Anthony Ujah for a second spell at the club following 18 months in China. Both are said to be in good shape and De Jong got through 45 minutes in a friendly defeat against Borussia Mönchengladbach last weekend. With fellow central midfielder Fabian Frei having left for Basel and Danny Latza suspended, De Jong will fancy his chances of starting.

Watch: Look back on how Hannover beat Mainz on the opening day of the season

Probable line-ups

Hannover: Tschauner (c) – Korb, Sane, Anton, Ostrzolek – Schwegler, Bakalorz – Klaus, Harnik, Bebou, Füllkrug
Absentees: Prib (cruciate ligament), Felipe (Adductor), Jonathas (thigh)
Coach: Andre Breitenreiter

Mainz: Zentner – Donati, Bell (c), Diallo, Brosinski – De Jong, Gbamin, Serdar – Öztunali, Muto, De Blasis
Absentees: Latza (suspended), Adler (hamstring)
Coach: Sandro Schwarz

Match stats

  • Hannover came from 1-0 and 4-3 down to draw 4-4 with Bayer Leverkusen in their last outing before the winter break; Mainz came back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Werder Bremen.
  • With 23 points from 17 games, promoted Hannover are already better off than they were at the same stage in each of their last campaigns in which they were relegated (16 points in 2002/03, 14 in 2015/16).
  • Hannover have only lost once at home this season – against Eintracht Frankfurt.
  • Mainz are unbeaten in their last two away games, but haven’t won on the road in a club record 14 matches.
  • The 05ers have their lowest points tally after 17 matches (17) since returning to the Bundesliga in 2009.
  • Hannover’s Martin Harnik has had a hand in eight goals in his last 10 meetings with Mainz (three goals, five assists), and scored the winner in the reverse fixture.

Click here for the Hannover vs. Mainz MatchCentre!


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