BY ESPNSTAR.com staff
The Reds limped into the knockout stages after a 1-0 defeat to Molde on Thursday. Luckily for them, FC Copenhagen drew with Steaua Bucharest and a better head-to-head record allowed the German side to progress instead of the Danish club.
But the players are already looking forward to the next stage of the competition and revealed that they are excited to play against top-tier talent. With the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham and Newcastle having also made it to the round of 32, it is a realistic prospect that Stuttgart could face English opposition in the next round.
"We didn't exactly cover ourselves in glory with a 1-0 defeat to Molde, but the bottom line is we got through. The ball just wouldn't go in, but you get that sort of game sometimes. We're just happy that we did enough in the end," Harnik was quoted as saying on uefa.com.
"We're not hoping to draw anyone in particular in the next round, but personally I'd like to play against an English team.
"We ought to have won the group really. That was our target, but sadly we didn't manage it.
"That said, we've played a lot of games with a very small squad and done the best with what we have."
And Ulreich stated that despite their less than impressive performance in the group stages, they deserved to progress. Moreover, he will not let the profile of their future opponents distract him when the draw takes place on December 20.
"It was bitter to lose 1-0 - the second time we've lost to Molde this season. Of course that's a pity and tempers our joy somewhat, but the important thing is that we got through.
"We didn't start well in the Europa League but went on to play really well twice away from home.
"Unfortunately we've lost another game at home, but overall I think we deserved to qualify. If you perform as we did in Bucharest and Copenhagen, you've earned your place in the next round.
"We'll take whichever opponent we're given. We need to concentrate on our own game and perform well to progress. It's nice to think that we could get a big club in the next round, though."