BERLIN: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will hope to add to his phenomenal tally of 30 goals in all competitions already this season when Borussia Dortmund host Hanover in the Bundesliga on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).
The Gabon striker is enjoying a superb campaign and has scored more goals on his own than struggling Hanover has managed all season.
Hanover lie bottom of the table, seven points from safety, and have mustered only 19 goals in the league all season, while “Auba” has netted 20 times in as many Bundesliga games for Dortmund.
The 26-year-old netted his 30th goal in 31 games in all competitions on Tuesday when Dortmund reached the German Cup semi-finals with a 3-1 win at Stuttgart.
To compound Hanover’s problems, they will be without Japan midfielder Hiroshi Kiyotake, their top scorer with three goals, who has a foot injury.
Hanover have lost all of their last six league games while Dortmund are unbeaten in their nine home league games this season with eight wins and a draw.
Second-placed Dortmund are looking to bounce back from last Saturday’s goalless draw at Hertha Berlin and know how important their African striker is.
“For us, it is extremely important that he’s a goal threat up front and that he scores,” said Dortmund’s Germany winger Marco Reus, who has scored nine goals in 15 league games.
“Auba knows that if he gets the chance in front of goal, he has to score and he works hard every day in training to score as many goals as possible.”
With an eight-point lead over Dortmund at the top of the table, Bayern Munich are at Augsburg in the Bavarian derby on Sunday, fresh from Wednesday’s 3-0 Cup quarter-final win at 10-man VfL Bochum.
Franck Ribery and Mario Goetze could feature as they work their way back to fitness after a leg and groin injury respectively.
Augsburg, who are just above the relegation places, host Liverpool in the Europa League next Thursday and have won just one of their last five games.
But their trainer Markus Weinzierl is the only coach to have beaten Pep Guardiola’s Bayern twice in the league.
Augsburg shocked the Bavarians in each of the last two seasons, albeit after the league title had already been decided.
Wolfsburg seek boost
Wolfsburg, who are winless in their last seven league games and play Belgian side Gent next Wednesday in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie, are at home to Ingolstadt.
Dieter Hecking’s Wolves have picked up just one of a possible nine points in the second half of the season so far.
They will be without striker Bas Dost, who has a foot injury, and forward Maximilian Arnold, who is out with a knee problem.
Fifth-placed Bayer Leverkusen are at Darmstadt without injured Mexico striker Javier Hernandez, who tore a buttock muscle on Tuesday in their Cup defeat to Werder Bremen.
Meanwhile, Hoffenheim are at Bremen on Saturday in a key relegation battle with both sides in the bottom three.
Hoffenheim have won just twice all season and are currently second from bottom, five points adrift of Bremen, who lie in the relegation play-off position.
The Sinsheim-based club will be playing their first match under their new coach Julian Nagelsmann, who at 28 becomes the youngest coach in Bundesliga history.
He replaces the 62-year-old Huub Stevens, who resigned on Wednesday, walking away from football with an acute abnormal heart rhythm that requires surgery.
Bremen are buoyed by reaching the German Cup semifinals after winning 3-1 at Leverkusen on Tuesday and striker Anthony Ujah has scored in each of his three games against Hoffenheim.