Grp B: Vorksla vs Hannover Preview

Hannover were heading into the unknown on Wednesday with their flight to the Ukrainian town of Poltava, where they are in action in the Europa League on Thursday night.

Football News: Hannover

The Reds must first stop in Kharkiv to pick up an experienced pilot who can land them on Poltava's military airstrip, but while they need an expert to get them to the venue of their second Europa League encounter, there are not so many experts when it comes to their opponents.

However, striker Jan Schlaudraff says that should not matter as long as Hannover concentrate on themselves.

"We know as little about them as they know about us," he is quoted as saying by the Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper.

"But this is one of the beauties of the Europa League - when would any normal person come to Poltava otherwise?"

However, Hannover coach Mirko Slomka has tried to prepare his team as well as possible by compiling a DVD of their opponents' exertions in Europe already this season.

Vorskla have already beaten Glentoran, Sligo and Dinamo Bucharest in qualifying while they were only narrowly beaten 1-0 at Copenhagen in their first Europa League group match, and Schlaudraff says that is enough of a warning.

"They have achieved a great deal with only limited resources," he said.

"But it is important that we do not lose. We want to get into the next round, but it is a very even group and everything must come together for us to go through."

Hannover began their Europa League group stage campaign with a 0-0 draw at home to Standard Liege a fortnight ago, but Poltava coach Nikolai Pavlov regards them as the toughest nut to crack in the group.

"We have gathered a lot of information about them and they are going to be our toughest opponent so far," he said, as reported by the Hannover Neue Presse newspaper.

"I hope that they are not going to play so well here or it is going to be difficult for us."

His prayers may have been answered slightly with Hannover's top goalscorer from last season, Didier Ya Konan, ruled out of the trip due to an abductor injury.

"We want to avoid any big risk in view of the challenges we have in the coming weeks," said Slomka.

Schlaudraff may therefore be the only striker in the Hannover team since Mohammed Abdellaoue missed the weekend's draw with Augsburg and may not be fit enough to play any part on Thursday night either.



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