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There was more than one reason why VfB Stuttgart midfielder William Kvist was left delighted after his side's 2-0 victory at KRC Genk. Not only had Die Roten secured progress to the UEFA Europa League round of 16 with a 3-1 aggregate success; they had also booked a tie with S.S. Lazio, a team the Dane has never faced before, from a city he loves.
Goalscorer Arthur Boka – returning to Belgium, where his professional career began – had the grace to admit his strike was "a bit lucky" after taking a double deflection, while losing captain Thomas Buffel found solace in the fact his side had fought all the way and left the tournament with "heads held high".
William Kvist, Stuttgart midfielder
We knew we had to play positively because we needed to score. We played cleverly, closing them down and keeping our defensive positions very well. We also broke well. After Christian Gentner's goal [for 2-0] the game was finished. We showed that we were the better team, which we did not do at home. We played with confidence and got our tactics right, especially in the second half.
When Genk tried to put us under pressure, we handled it very well. I am really pleased we now have to face Lazio, I have not played against them before and I love Rome. It is more fun to play them than Mönchengladbach, because I have already come up against them a few times in the Bundesliga. I am looking forward to two games against a great team.
Arthur Boka, Stuttgart defender
Although I was a bit lucky with my goal, it was a nice one to score. I am happy I was able to help my team. It encouraged us to look for a second that would get us into the next round. I was very pleased when it came, because then we knew we were safe. I started my career as a professional footballer here in Belgium, with KSK Beveren, and therefore the game had special significance for me. I never beat Genk while playing for Beveren, so our victory today makes me even happier.
Playing Lazio is a great prospect. I love playing against big clubs. We will do everything we can to beat them and continue our Europa League journey.
Thomas Buffel, Genk midfielder
We have had two great campaigns in Europe, last year in the Champions League and now in the Europa League. It is a shame our home unbeaten run has come to an end. With a bit more luck we could have gone further, but, in the end, Stuttgart were stronger than us.
First half we gave little away and created a few chances ourselves, but they scored with a deflection and that changed everything. We then had to force the game and leave more space at the back. We did miss [the injured] Jelle Vossen – he can score out of nothing and make the difference. But all in all we fought to the end and leave the tournament with our heads held high.
Jeroen Simaeys, Genk defender
It was a poor time to concede the first goal, right on the stroke of half-time, and also a poor goal as the ball was deflected twice. It would have been a completely different scenario had that not gone in. Up until that moment things were going fine and we had the match under control. We reckoned beforehand that the tie would be decided by a few crucial moments – and it was. Unfortunately they did not go in our favour. After they scored we had to go looking for an equaliser and we left ourselves more open. They played on the counter and punished us.
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