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Hyypia hopeful of Champions League

Bayer Leverkusen coach Sami Hyypia is wary of the ‘dangerous’ Stuttgart side his team will face in the Bundesliga on Saturday.

Bayer Leverkusen coach Sami Hyypia is wary of the ‘dangerous’ Stuttgart side his team will face in the Bundesliga on Saturday.

Third-placed Leverkusen can focus on their league campaign after suffering a 3-1 aggregate loss to Benfica in the Europa League round-of-32.

Hyypia is hopeful his side can seal Champions League qualification for next season but is aware of the threat Stuttgart will pose.

The former Liverpool defender highlighted the danger striker Vedad Ibisevic poses, with the Bosnian having 10 league goals to his name this season.

“Stuttgart is a dangerous team. They play very fast with direct passes,” Hyypia said on Thursday.

“In the offence, there are many dangerous players. Especially Ibisevic is a very good striker.”

Leverkusen’s Europa League exit means they have gone without sustained success in Europe since finishing runners-up in the Champions League in 2001-02.

Hyypia said his pre-season goal of wanting to qualify for Europe remained the same.

“At the beginning of this season, we’ve fixed our target to manage to get into European competition,” he said.

“It was a realistic target and the target hasn’t changed.”

Without European action, Leverkusen will feature in fewer games to finish the season and Hyypia said his side’s preparation would change.

“I think the players are happier when there are more matches than training sessions,” he said.

“For the managers it’s nice to have because you can prepare better for the next game on Saturday.

“Of course, there are different ways to prepare. If you have many games, you’re more tired and you have to do so many things.”
Thu 28 February, 2013
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