Hannover will look to USA international forward Bobby Wood to shore up his solid goalscoring form when they head to fast-improving Mainz on Sunday (kick-off 3:30pm CET/2:30pm GMT/9:30am ET).
Wood has scored his first three goals in his last seven league matches for the club he joined from relegated Hamburg in the summer, but has been unable to halt their slide down the table. Andre Breitenreiter's men head into Matchday 14 second from bottom and two points from safety after taking just four points from their last six Bundesliga matches. "It has nothing to do with the coach. We out there on the pitch are the ones responsible," said goalkeeper Michael Esser after last weekend's 2-0 home loss to Hertha Berlin, his side's fourth reverse in five outings. "When we do things the way we did, there's no coach in the world who can do anything."
If Hannover need hope, they should look no further than their hosts. Mainz were just three points better off than Hannover after Matchday 9. They have stretched that advantage to nine points with a hot streak of three wins in four matches, a run in which the only setback was a narrow 2-1 defeat to Borussia Dortmund. Coach Sandro Schwarz will hope Karim Onisiwo and Robin Quaison can shake off the colds that forced them to miss training early in the week while Daniel Brosinski should recover from the dead leg that forced him off during the 1-0 win in Düsseldorf last time out.
Watch: Bobby Wood's Top 5 goals
Mainz: Zentner – Brosinski, Bell (c), Niakhite, Martin – Gbamin, Kunde, Latza – Boetius – Mateta, QuaisonOut: Adler (knee), Baku (foot), Müller (ankle), Mwene (knee)Coach: Sandro Schwarz
Hannover: Esser – Korb, Anton (c), Elez, Ostrzolek – Muslija, Schwegler, Walace, Maina – Wood, FüllkrugOut: Bebou (hamstring), Hübers, (knee) Prib (knee), Sarenren Bazee (concussion)Coach: Andre Breitenreiter