STEVENS NEEDS TO LIFT SCHALKE
Schalke coach Huub Stevens has a job on his hands lifting his side back onto their feet after their Europa League elimination on Thursday.
The Royal Blues host Hannover, who were also sent out of the Europa League this week, at the Arena AufSchalke on Sunday with both sides licking their wounds after their respective European campaigns were ended.
But Stevens feels it will be harder for his team to come to terms with their 2-2 draw against Athletic Bilbao, which completed a 6-4 aggregate defeat.
"It feels almost like a defeat," he said on his club's website. "We fought so bravely, but we are out.
"Now to send a team onto the field which is fit and fresh is an incredibly difficult undertaking.
"I just hope that we can have the support of our amazing fans and that their enthusiasm can carry us."
Hannover went down 2-1 at home to Atletico Madrid to lose 4-2 on aggregate and now they are desperate to return to the competition next season.
"We will do all we can to play in Europe again next season," said their coach Mirko Slomka, who led Schalke to the Champions League quarter-finals in 2008 before being sacked a few days later.
"We can concentrate fully on the Bundesliga," added Sergio Pinto on his club's website.
"We want to defend fifth place and we will do all we can to win, but they are going to be a tough 90 minutes."
Lars Stindl is still ruled out injured for the Reds while the Royal Blues are without the suspended Joel Matip and Christian Fuchs is unlikely to be fit. Christoph Metzelder and Benedikt Howedes could be options, however.
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