Durm joined hometown club Kaiserslautern in the summer after winning the UEFA Europa League with Eintracht Frankfurt last season. The former Borussia Dortmund full-back has made 101 Bundesliga appearances and represents a real coup for the Red Devils in their first season back in the second tier since 2017/18. The two-time Bundesliga champions earned promotion via the play-offs, the club’s gamble to sack Marco Antwerpen and install Dirk Schuster in his stead ahead of the winner-takes-all encounter with Dynamo Dresden paying off. Goalkeeper Andreas Luthe (Union Berlin) is another newcomer with Bundesliga experience, while striker Lex-Tyger Lobinger has made the switch after scoring nine goals in 16 appearances for the Fortuna Düsseldorf reserves last term. The 22-year-old provides competition in attack for former US international Terrence Boyd, who produced eight goals in 13 3. Liga outings during the second half of last season.
Hannover make the trip to Kaiserslautern’s 49,850-capacity Fritz-Walter-Stadion with a similar mix of old and new faces. Goalkeeper and captain Zieler is perhaps the most recognisable of the bunch, Durm’s 2014 World Cup-winning teammate now in his ninth season with the club. Unable to keep Greuther Fürth in the Bundesliga in 2021/22, new head coach Stefan Leitl has further top-tier experience to call on for the new campaign, following a recruitment drive including the capture of Maximilian Beier (Hoffenheim, loan), Antonio Foti (Frankfurt, loan), Fabian Kunze (Arminia Bielefeld), Havard Nielsen (Fürth) and Louis Schaub (Cologne). Midfielder Max Besuschkow has also made the move, after impressing with five goals and four assists in 33 games for Regensburg last season. Linton Maina, however, has joined Cologne. The Reds finished 11th in their third successive Bundesliga 2 campaign following relegation from the top flight in 2019.
- A Bundesliga debutant aged 21, Durm is set to make his Bundesliga 2 bow at the age of 30.
- Boyd made 42 Bundesliga 2 appearances across spells with RB Leipzig and Darmstadt, producing six goals and two assists.
- Kaiserslautern finished bottom of the table in their most recent season of Bundesliga 2 football (2017/18).
- Zieler kept a joint league high 11 clean sheets last season.
- Sebastian Kerk was Hannover’s nine-goal top scorer in 2021/22 (11 in all competitions).
- The Reds won their only two previous Bundesliga 2 meetings with Kaiserslautern in 2016/17. They lead the overall head-to-head on 22 wins to 18 (seven draws).
Kaiserslautern: Luthe – Durm, Kraus, Tomiak, Zuck – Ciftci, Ritter – Zimmer (c), Wunderlich, Hanslik – Boyd
Out: Stavridis (ankle)
Coach: Dirk Schuster
Hannover: Zieler (c) – Neumann, Börner, Krajnc – Muroya, Kunze, Onduoa, Celebi – Besuschkow – Beier, Nielsen
Out: Ernst (Achilles)
Coach: Stefan Leitl