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Simeone alert to Hannover strenghts

29 March 2012 14:44

Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone is bracing for a difficult first leg with Hannover in their Europa League quarter-final on Thursday.

Bundesliga outfit Hannover made light work of Standard Liege in their round-of-16 tie with a 6-2 aggregate win and Simeone, who has presided over just three losses in the 17 matches since he took charge at Atletico, noted many of their threats.

"I have already watched their games against Werder Bremen, Brugge, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. We know a lot about them," Simeone said.

"They have good winger's, especially on the left. Also through the middle where (Lars) Stindl is an important player because he can play in many different positions.

"(Manuel) Schmiedebach is great as well in attack. (Sergio) Pinto is a good midfielder and their two or three strikers are quick and effective.

"(Konstantin) Rausch, who is a defender, plays on the left but performs as a midfielder and can create chances in front of goal. It is going to be a hard game for both teams."

Europa League champions in the 2009/10 campaign, Atletico have won 12 of their 14 fixtures in the tournament this season and are favourites to lift the trophy in Bucharest in May.

Hannover counterpart Mirko Slomka conceded there were not many weaknesses in Atletico's armour to speak of ahead of their trip to the Vicente Calderon and said he was bemused as to how Simeone's team are only eighth in La Liga.

"I must confess there aren't many holes - not in important areas like defence and attack," Slomka said.

"The only obvious thing, despite the individual class, is that they are ranked only eighth in La Liga and lost their last game in Spain.

"That confuses us. I hope we continue to play our own game. We need to defend well against their brilliant (midfielder) Diego. It will be a difficult task, but we want this challenge."

Slomka agreed Ateltico would go into the tie as heavy favourites but said that his side would not be going to Spain with a defensive mindset.

"We want to score a goal. A 0-0 is like you didn't play at all. We try to score away from home as we did in our Europa League games. I think we have the quality," he said.

"We are very dangerous and fast in attack. We will play against an attack-minded team and it will be a chance for us to counter-attack. If we are composed in front of goal we will have a good result."

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