Munich - Hannover 96 were the surprise package of last season's UEFA Europa League as they reached the quarter-final stages of a European competition for the first time in the club's history. For now though it's back to square one as the Reds prepare for the first leg of their play-off against Polish side Slask Wroclaw (kick-off 20:45 CEST).

The winner of the tie will progress into the group stages of the competition, but club chairman Martin Kind already has his sights set on topping last year's success: "We naturally hope to get to the semi-finals at some stage, if not the final."

Stiff competition


There were several weaker sides Hannover could have been drawn against than the current Polish champions. However, the 96ers' successful start to the 2012/13 campaign, which saw them cruise into round two of the DFB Cup last weekend courtesy of a 6-1 win against lower league side FC Nöttingen, has boosted confidence in the camp.

Having already seen off Irish side St. Patrick's Athletic in the two-legged qualification round to reach the Europa League play-offs, Hannover are now turning their attention to tougher opposition. "Wroclaw are a good side, but we're strong enough to proceed to the group stage," said head coach Mirko Slomka.

Polish league's "minimalists"


Wroclaw's preparation hasn't been ideal considering they lost 2-1 to Widzew Lodz on the opening day of the Polish league last week. Addtionally Orest Lenczyk's side squandered the chance to reach the UEFA Champions League play-offs at the start of August, as they were beaten 6-1 on aggregate by Swedish side Helsingborgs IF.

56 points in 30 matches last season were enough for Slask to win the league title, beating off more historically successful sides such as Legia Warsaw, Lech Poznan and Wisla Krakow. It was only the second time the club have finished the season as Polish champions. Wroclaw's style of play saw them only get beaten eight times, but it also earned them the reputation of being the league's minimalists by scoring only 47 goals and conceding just 31.

Possible line-ups:

Slask Wroclaw : Kelemen - Socha, Grodzicki, Kowalczyk, Wasiluk - Patejuk, Jodlowiec - Cetnarski, Kazmierczak - Voskamp, Elsner

Hannover: Zieler - Cherundolo, Haggui, Felipe, Pander - Andreasen, da Silva Pinto - Rausch, Huszti (Stindl) - Schlaudraff, Ya Konan (Abdellaoue)