Slomka: Let's get maximum points
Hannover coach Mirko Slomka has called on his side to win their remaining three Bundesliga games and pip Bayern Munich to a UEFA Champions League qualifying spot.
Last night's 3-1 victory at Freiburg took the Lower Saxony side back above Bayern and into third. And while Bayern can overtake them once more with a win at Eintracht Frankfurt tomorrow, Slomka is determined to finish third and challenge the game's elite next season.
"Now Bayern are under pressure," said Slomka. "We have three games left and we want to get the maximum from them."
But even if Hannover fail to keep their nose in front of Bayern, they have already exceeded all expectations this season.
After defeat in the first round of the DFB-Pokal to third-division opposition, Slomka's job was on the line, but his side have remained in the top five since the opening day of the season and are now assured of at least a place in the UEFA Europa League next season.
"We can finally say that we have reached the Europa League," said Slomka. "We have been courageous all week by setting ourselves high goals and the team has put that into practice on the field today. We deserved to win this game."
Dutt puts Hannover alongside Dortmund
Freiburg coach Robin Dutt even went as far as to put Hannover in the same category as champions-elect Borussia Dortmund.
"Dortmund and Hannover have been the most consistent sides all season," he said. "Hannover have a perfect counter-attacking tactic and they play technically excellent football.
"We wanted to win the game today by keeping the ball low, but Hannover countered us excellently."
Dutt can also look forward to European football next season. He will take over at Bayer Leverkusen, whose place in the Champions League is practically secured.