Why Bayern Munich vs. Hannover Is the Match to Watch in Germany This Weekend

Clark Whitney@@Mr_BundesligaFeatured ColumnistNovember 22, 2012

MADRID, SPAIN - MARCH 29:  Head coach Mirko Slomka of Hannover 96 follows the start of the UEFA Europa League quarter-final first leg match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Hannover 96 at the Vincente Calderon stadium on March 29, 2012 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

Bayern Munich and Hannover will have redemption on their minds as they face off this Saturday. Both sides dropped points last week, and will be looking to return to winning ways.

Saturday’s clash will be about much more than points, however. The two clubs have had a heated history as of late, with Hannover—in spite of their minimal star power, modest wage bill and historical mediocrity—boasting one of the best records against Bayern of any German club.

Indeed, Hannover have won two of their last three matches against Bayern. As is so often the case, the Bavarian giants have responded by taking an interest in signing members of the opposition that bettered them.

No, Uli Hoeness is not ready to splash cash on Mario Eggimann or Lars Stindl; on the other hand, according to Sport-Bildthe Bayern president has eyed coach Mirko Slomka to succeed current boss Jupp Heynckes.

Bild revealed in June that Bayern had selected Pep Guardiola as their primary target, but the link has since gone dry amid rumors the ex-Barcelona coach had his sights on a position in the Premier League.

Sport Bild more recently alleged that Bayern had shifted their focus to Slomka, as well as Gladbach trainer Lucien Favre.

While Favre has a contract until 2015, Slomka would be available for free next summer, when his deal with Hannover expires. The trainer, who was born just 30km outside of Hannover, has been massively successful with very limited resources available. After steering the Lower Saxony side clear of relegation in the second half of the 2009-10 season, he led the 96ers to two consecutive berths in the Europa League.

Not only overall but particularly against Bayern, Slomka has enjoyed success. Under his tenure, Hannover have won twice and lost three times, a very respectable record against Germany’s eternal powerhouse club. It’s no wonder Bayern are so keen on the Hildesheim native.

Fixtures between Bayern and Hannover have been a delight in recent years, with a clear winner in every meeting. Indeed, the last time the two sides drew was in February 2006. The clubs will play for points, but for Slomka, there is a little extra incentive: If he wins, he not only celebrates the team victory but also the prospect of a sizable pay raise at Bayern.

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