Hannover centre-back Alexander Milosevic insists the Bundesliga’s bottom club are staying positive despite their predicament as Thomas Schaaf’s men get set to visit Borussia Dortmund.
Having lost their last six league matches, Hannover are five points adrift of the relegation play-off place and seven off safety at the foot of the table.
And they face a tough task this Saturday against Dortmund, who are second and unbeaten in their last four games in all competitions.
But Milosevic – who joined Hannover on loan from Besiktas last month – is remaining upbeat.
“It’s the first time in my career that I fight against relegation,” Milosevic told Hannover’s official website.
“The only thing I can do personally… is to play in every training session and in every game where I get the chance to give 100 per cent.
“I’m not someone who looks down and says that we need so many points in the next game.
“I just want my team to win. We are trying to stay positive at all times.”
Hannover have a host of injury problems, with captain Christian Schulz (gastrointestinal flu), Adam Szalai (hamstring) and Hugo Almeida (infection) all missing out on the trip to Signal Iduna Park.
This weekend’s clash will serve as the 50th Bundesliga meeting between Dortmund and Hannover.
Dortmund have won 24 of the previous 49 encounters and emerged victorious in nine of the last 12, and boast a striker in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who enjoys playing Hannover.
Aubameyang has netted four times in four appearances versus Hannover and comes into the game having reached the 30-goal mark for the season in Dortmund’s 3-1 DFB-Pokal win at Stuttgart on Tuesday.
Despite the quick turnaround from that fixture, coach Thomas Tuchel is not concerned about his Dortmund player’s fitness.
Speaking after game at the Mercedes-Benz Arena, Tuchel said: “We knew that we had to put in a lot. We knew how strong Stuttgart are now, how passionately they can play. We also knew how difficult the pitch would be to play on.
“We knew we would have to push ourselves to our limits. The physical effort put in by both teams is to be emphasised. Now we need to recover with real professionalism and care. Then we will be at 100 per cent from the very first minute on Saturday.”
Sven Bender is back in training for Dortmund following a knee injury, but it remains to be seen if he will be involved as Dortmund aim to put pressure on leaders Bayern Munich, who face Augsburg on Sunday and are eight points clear.
Key Opta stats:
– Hannover have only been in a worse position at this point of a Bundesliga campaign once before. In 1971-72 they also had 14 points (converted to three points for a win), but their goal difference was weaker.
– Dortmund have 25 points from their opening nine home games this term (joint club record) – a win this weekend would see them break the previous benchmark.
– Dortmund are unbeaten in 13 Bundesliga home games (W12, D1), scoring at least twice in each of those games – their best run since 1980-81 (14).
– Thomas Schaaf has lost on his last seven trips to Dortmund (For 2, Against 13). He’s yet to claim a point as Hannover boss (three games) – his worst opening run as a Bundesliga boss.