A 2-2 draw at Paderborn at the weekend may have been seen as a blow to the northern Germany side’s hopes of finishing inside the Bundesliga’s top six but instead, Skripnik has now declared that as his objective.
“Anything else would be making fun of the fans,” said the Ukrainian, whose side are currently three points behind sixth-placed Augsburg with only four games of the season remaining.
Should Bayern Munich and Wolfsburg both reach the final of the DFB-Pokal this week, that would mean seventh place would also be good enough for a berth in the Europa League next season, and Bremen are just one point behind Hoffenheim, the current occupiers of that position.
“It’s something we’ve slowly got to start thinking about,” said Skripnik on kicker.de. “It’s going to give me the sort of headache that any coach is happy to have.”
Bremen face the acid test of their ambitions when they face Eintracht Frankfurt next weekend with the Eagles, coached by their former boss Thomas Schaaf, just three points behind them and playing for their last chance of boarding the European train.
A trip to struggling Hannover follows before Bremen welcome Borussia Monchengladbach to the Weser Stadion on the penultimate weekend of the season.
The decision on who will be representing the Bundesliga in the Europa League next season may be taken only on the final day of the season, though.
On that day, Bremen travel to Borussia Dortmund, who are currently level with them on 39 points, albeit with a far superior goal difference.