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Hanover ready for Schalke after Enke tragedy

SoccerNews in Bundesliga 21 Nov 2009

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Hanover 96 return to German league action on Saturday having bid farewell to Robert Enke who committed suicide last week, but with memories of their tragic goalkeeper still fresh in their minds.

The 32-year-old, who had been set to travel with Germany to the World Cup in South Africa next June, flung himself under a train after a long battle with depression and a memorial service was held for him on Sunday.

Many of his team-mates were in tears as they carried out Enke’s coffin and less than a week later they will be wearing a special-edition shirt at Schalke’s Veltins Arena on Saturday in their first match since the tragedy.

“The team has been impressive this week and I believe we will put in a good performance against Schalke,” said Hanover coach Andreas Bergmann, whose side are tenth in the table with Schalke fourth.

“Of course, Robert will remain in our thoughts, but we have to make sure he is not all we think about.”

Bergmann said the Hanover team asked to play the game after concerns they would not be fit to face Schalke.

“The team always based itself around Robert and he helped lift spirits,” said club boss Martin Kind. “He was our most prominent player on the Germany stage.”

Dutch midfielder Arnold Bruggink will take over as Hanover captain while reserve goalkeeper Florian Fromlowitz now finds himself first-choice.

“Everything is different and will remain so,” said Fromlowitz. “Robert will be always in my heart and I know that he watches from above.”

Schalke will be without Gerald Asamoah, who is sick with flu, while fellow forward Jefferson Frafan has bronchitis.

The showcase game of the weekend is German giants Bayern Munich hosting league leaders Leverkusen at the Allianz Arena on Sunday and with the home side eighth in the Bundesliga, goalkeeper Hans-Joerg Butt says they must win.

“There can be no more excuses,” said the 35-year-old with Bayern six points behind Leverkusen.

“Leverkusen are a direct rival, we?re at home – so we have to win, that?s all there is to it.”

Having stormed out on the team during their 1-1 draw at home to Schalke after being substituted, striker Luca Toni can expect to start on the bench with Germany striker Miroslav Klose partnering Mario Gomez up front.

Having moved up to fifth in the table, defending champions Wolfsburg are at home to struggling Nuremberg with star striker Edin Dzeko eyeing up a possible move to Italian giants AC Milan next summer.

With Bremen three points behind leaders Leverkusen, Thomas Schaaf’s side are at Freiburg and having been beaten just once all season, they have a new star in midfielder Aaron Hunt who won his first cap in Germany’s draw with the Ivory Coast.

Likewise, third-placed Hamburg are still just three points from leaders Leverkusen and need to pick up their seventh win of the season against second-from-bottom Bochum on Sunday.

Saturday

VfL Wolfsburg v Nuremberg, VfB Stuttgart v Hertha Berlin, Schalke 04 v Hanover 96, Cologne v Hoffenheim, Eintracht Frankfurt v Borussia M’gladbach, Freiburg v Werder Bremen, Borussia Dortmund v Mainz 05

Sunday

Bayern Munich v Bayer Leverkusen, Hamburg v VfL Bochum

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