A gulf in class
Bundesliga's Friday match will be between Hannover and RB Leipzig and will kick-off at 7:30 PM GMT. It will be played at the HDI Arena, an arena with an aura of anxiety surrounding it this season. It could be argued that Hannover is the Bundesliga's worst team this season. Leipzig will travel to Hannover with the wind in their sails after a confidence boosting 4-0 thrashing away at Fortuna. The good times look set to continue on Friday.
If you wanted to place a long-term bet on Hannover this season, I would recommend a wager on relegation. They have only managed two victories this season. They have drawn five and lost twelve. Most of their points were picked up in the first half of the season. It doesn't seem to matter if they are playing home or away. At home they have not scored in the last four matches, with a goal difference of 0-8, and not a single point. Of these four teams, one was Bayern Munich, but otherwise they were mid-table teams or lower.
Key stat: Hannovers goal difference on average at home is 0.78 scored and 1.67 conceded this season.
In terms of points, they are the worst home team in the Bundesliga this season. There is no potential for improvement according to their expected goals. They lost their last match 5-1 away at Dortmund. No-one at Hannover has scored more than three goals. The injury list is just as bad; they are missing key players such as Hubers, Maina and Bebou.
- League position: 17
Last week I wrote about how ineffective and weak RB Leipzig have been away from home this season. Then they went to Dusseldorf and won 0-4 against an in-form Fortuna. I still stand by the fact they have underperformed this season away from home, but now, perhaps, they have come to life. Werner and Poulsen have stood for 21 goals this season, and are now finally starting to score away from home. Leipzig's average goals scored away from home is 1.22 and they have conceded an average of 1.22, but it should be taken into account that they have had a very tough away schedule.
Key stat: according to expected goals, Leipzig have scored 3.5 goals less than they should have.
We can discuss the figures till the cows come home, but the fact of the matter is that come Friday there will be a huge gulf in class. RB Leipzig are better in every single position and they currently have a number of key players in positions that Hannover don't. Upamecano and Haidara are missing through injury, and Kampl and Bruma are doubts. But even with these injuries their bench has more quality than Hannover's first team players.
- League position: 4
Analysis, trends, stats, injuries and home/away advantages can tell you a lot about a game, but sometimes it makes sense to simply look at the how much quality the two teams possess, and the difference in quality between two teams can be considerable in the Bundesliga. Leipzig are two, maybe three times as good as Hannover, and now with a big away win in their pocket, they'll be going for Hannover's jugular on Friday. Hannover are a poor team in a bad run of form. Like the last three meetings between these teams, Leipzig will win. I will bet on RB Leipzig to win at odds of 27/20.