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Hyypia eyes Champions League place

Bayer Leverkusen coach Sami Hyypia is still targeting Champions League qualification this season and believes his side are on track.

A 3-2 loss to Borussia Dortmund last time out saw Leverkusen slip to third in the Bundesliga, one point clear of Eintracht Frankfurt.

Speaking ahead of his side’s clash against Borussia Moenchengladbach on Saturday, Hyypia said European qualification was his goal at the start of the campaign and feels the target is still ‘very reachable’.

“At the beginning of the season we gave ourselves the goal to qualify for Europe. In my head, this goal hasn’t changed,” he said on Friday.

“This is one of our goals and I think at the beginning of the season it was a realistic goal which we set ourselves. Until now everything has gone very well for us and I think the goal is still very reachable.

“If everything goes well we have the chance to make the Champions League.

“It would be nice to play in the Champions League but Europa League would be good as well. It is not good to think too much about where we’ll stand in May.

“It is more important to think about a difficult match against Moenchengladbach and we have to be psychologically and physically strong to get another three points. With these three points we’re back in the top two.”

Leverkusen are set to be tested in the coming weeks, with their Europa League tie against Benfica starting on Thursday.

Hyypia said it would be tough for his men, but urged them to move on with scheduling out of their control.

“When you have a lot matches then many players can show that they are also able to play football,” he said.

“I think next week we’re going to play on Thursday and then on Saturday which is very difficult for us.

“I’ve done this myself a couple of times and this is obviously not easy when you only have one day for relaxing.

“But we can’t control or change the things which other people have decided and we have to deal with that.”

Fri 8 February, 2013
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