After Atlético’s 6-1 triumph over Besiktas, we now face Hannover 96 in the quarter-finals of the Europa League.
On Friday, the Rojiblancos were drawn against the Germans, who are currently seventh in the Bundesliga standings.
The confrontation on the 29th of March at the Vicente Calderón will be the first time the two teams meet in European competition. The return leg will be played one week later at the AWD-Arena.
Hannover, who won the national league in 1938 and 1954, have been a mid-table team in the last decade but surprisingly finished fourth last season.
On their way to the round of eight, Die Roten beat Sevilla over two legs and advanced as second team in Group B behind Standard Liège. They would later best the Belgium team on aggregate, after also having taken care of Club Brugge.
Mirko Slomka, coach of Hannover, considers Atlético the stronger team but also sees a chance for his own side.
“We play against the winner of 2010, so it’s clear who the favourite is,” he said.
“But we’ve seen against Sevilla what we can do in an underdog position. Those who’ve seen our last games know that we don’t need to be afraid [of anyone].
“The quarter final is a big challenge. The return leg will be in Hannover and with a sold out stadium we can make a difference.”
Whoever wins the tie will face one of Valencia and AZ Alkmaar. The Dutch side are currently leading the table in Holland, while Los Che are a well known rival. If we are to meet them, then the Valencians will surely want revenge for 2010, when we knocked them out in controversial fashion on our way to the title.
The semi-finals will be played on 19 and 26 April, with Atlético or Hannover playing at home first.
The other finalist will come from the ties between Sporting Portugal – Metalist and Schalke 04 – Athletic.
How do you feel about our tie with Hannover and do you think Atlético can go all the way to reclaim their Europa League title?