Levante vs Hannover preview

December 5, 2012
By: Nemanja Lazarevic

High-flying Levante can qualify from the top of the group with three points from this game, where one point is enough for Hannover to remain at the top.

The club from Valencia did not need a lot of time to show their last season’s success was no accident, with los Granotes enjoying an excellent start to the new season.

While climbing to eight in La Liga (they trail fifth-placed Malaga by just one point), Juan Ignacio Martinez’s side also impressed in Europe.

Despite playing most of the European games with second-string sides, Levante picked up 10 points from first 5 games to ensure their progress into the next stage.

Los Granotes now want to defeat Hannover and win their group, and they are 2.05 (21/20) with Sportingbet to do so.

Club icon Sergio Ballesteros is suspended, while top scorer Obafemi Martins is ineligible. Hector Rodas and Juanfran have resumed full training, but Pedro Rios and Dariusz Dudka remain sidelined.

Boss Juan Ignacio Martinez is once again expected to rest most of his starters and field a second-string line-up.

Probable starting line-up (4-5-1): Munua – Lell, Rodas, Navarro, Karabelas – El Zhar, Diop, Iborra, Michel, Bakero – Angel.

Hannover are another side that have been exceeding expectations in recent years, with boss Mirko Slomka really getting the best out of his players.

However, while doing extremely well in Europa League, where they have recorded 7 wins and 2 draws, the Reds have somewhat struggled in their Bundesliga campaign.

The run of three defeats in last four league games saw the team slip to 12th in the overall standings, although they are still just five points behind fourth-placed Schalke.

Despite needing just one point from the Levante game to win the first place in the group, Hannover players will give their best to return to winning ways and thus restore some of the lost confidence.

With boss Mirko Slomka expected to field his strongest side in Valencia, I see a great value in odds of 3.80 (14/5) offered at Betfair on away win.

It is also important to note that Hannover won the first game between the two teams despite playing more than 80 minutes with ten men.

Apart from long-term casualties Leon Andreasen and Felipe, Slomka will have fully fit squad to pick from.

Probable starting line-up (4-4-2): Zieler – Cherundolo, Eggimann, Haggui, Rausch – Stindl, Schulz, Da Silva Pinto, Huszti – Schlaudraff, Diouf.

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