Former Hannover 96 player and coach Dieter Hecking has warned his longtime club ahead of the Lower Saxony derby against Eintracht Braunschweig. “Hannover is usually the clear favourite,” said the sports director of second division competitor 1. FC Nürnberg of the German Press Agency. "Eintracht may have just won against us, but we should never have lost this game. So the momentum is on Hannover's side."
But, Hecking added: "The character of a derby is that it doesn't matter at all, it's just about who can best deal with the special nature of this game. Aggressiveness and mentality are more important than the current form and sometimes even more important than the actual quality of both teams." This is a chance for the bottom of the table Braunschweig against the recently victorious promotion candidate 96 four times in a row.
"Back then there was already a great sporting rivalry. But the games weren't pushed that high," said Hecking. "We got hot in the dressing room days beforehand and we were also approached in the city. I also like this kind of battle between the fans in the stadium, as long as it's fair and respectful."
In the game this Saturday (1 p.m. / Sky), around 7,000 seats in the stadium will remain empty for safety reasons. Fans of both clubs have been insulting and hating each other for years. "Even as a coach, I didn't like this overplay of a game and I like it even less now as an official," said Hecking. "It has a lot to do with social networks. The mood is raised there and then picked up by the media and sometimes also by security authorities. It really can't be that you need so many police to protect a football game."
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