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Konstantin Rausch said his 22nd birthday "could hardly have gone better" after Hannover 96 stormed into the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals for the first time in their history with a resounding 4-0 second-leg victory over R. Standard de Liège, winning 6-2 on aggregate in the round of 16.
Konstantin Rausch, Hannover midfielder
My only birthday wish was for us to progress. To deliver such a dominant performance against such good opposition, it could hardly have gone better. Scoring early is always good because it opens things up and that suits our game. We really gave it some gas early on, put them under pressure and won almost every challenge. We got forward well and you could see our quality.
It's a fantastic experience for the entire city and for us as a team. I don't think anyone would have predicted we'd make it into the quarter-finals of the Europa League. It's really something to celebrate. It's great fun playing in the competition and to get this far is outstanding.
Jan Schlaudraff, Hannover forward
We knew that if we kept a clean sheet we'd definitely be through, but that was no guarantee. They're extremely dangerous from set pieces and have some outstanding players in their air, so they're always capable of scoring. Still, we knew we were the better footballing side and we wanted to show that. We did, and deserved to win and progress to the next round.
Mohammed Abdellaoue, Hannover forward
It's unbelievable. We played very well today. We started really well in the first 25 or 30 minutes and I thought we were in control almost throughout, so I'm delighted. It was a fantastic atmosphere and they really helped us today. We could feel it when we went out to warm up. It's really great to have those fans and to play for Hannover.
Jelle Van Damme, Standard defender
We're very disappointed because we had a good feeling before the game. I think we made a few mistakes.
I can't explain why, but we started 20 minutes too late and the game was already over by then at 2-0. In the second half it went a little better until we got the red card. After that all we did was run after the ball. We knew everyone would have to be 100% to take anything from the game and that wasn't the case.
Serge Gakpe, Standard midfielder
We're very disappointed because we played very badly. We were hoping to get back into the match but unfortunately we weren't able to do that. I've only played in four [UEFA Europa League] matches but it's a very high level and they're the kind of games you want to be involved in. We'll have to try our best to make sure we're involved again next year.
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