Slomka demands final Hannover push

With seven games still to be played, Hannover coach Mirko Slomka has called on his team to summon up their remaining energy to finish inside the top six.

Football news: Mirko Slomka

The Reds host Stuttgart on Sunday with just two points separating them from sixth place and a third consecutive qualification for the Europa League, and Slomka has asked for one final push from his side.

"We're now on the final straight and we need to be strong and pull together," he said.

"I would prefer it if we were in sixth place and defending our position because it is harder to have to make up ground, but maybe we can use the slipstream and sneak by when the others drop points."

Stuttgart's hopes of qualifying for Europe rest on their DFB-Pokal semi-final against Freiburg in just over a week's time, but their coach Bruno Labbadia still wants to see an improvement in their current league position between now and next month.

"We want to latch on to our last two matches," he said. "The way we played and the pressing were good and I totally want us to carry on that way."

Labbadia has defended his side from the criticism levelled at them by Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp, who claimed they were overly physical last weekend.

"It's a shame that what was an extremely attractive game was brought down to a level which had little to do with football," he said at a press conference.

"Unfair is something different. It was a great game with both sides going in hard, but I don't want to waste any more unnecessary words talking about it."

Labbadia will be without the suspended Martin Harnik and Georg Niedermeier while Tim Hoogland is likely to miss out with a fever, although Cristian Molinaro is back from suspension and can play, along with Serdar Tasci, William Kvist and Shinji Okazaki.

Slomka welcomes Sergio Pinto and Mame Diouf back from suspension.

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