Hannover 96 cruised into the play-off round of the Europa League on the back of a 2-0 home win against St. Patrick's Athletic, wrapping up a 5-0 aggregate victory over their League of Ireland opponents.

Mirko Slomka's men, who reached the quarter-finals of the tournament last season, join VfB Stuttgart in the pot for Friday's play-off draw. The winners of that round (23 and 30 August) secure a berth in the group stages, where Bayer Leverkusen are already one guaranteed Bundesliga participant.

St. Pat's miss their chance, Hannover take theirs

The hosts almost had a nasty surprise in the 11th minute when Conor Kenna latched onto a deep cross inside the Hannover box and rattled the bar with a volley. That remained by far the best opportunity of an opening half-hour which saw Hannover dominate possession without using it to any great effect.

With 32 minutes on the clock however, the 96ers did then make the breakthrough on the night. Returnee Szabolcs Huszti was fouled down the left flank and the resulting free kick, taken by the Hungarian international himself, found the head of Karim Haggui, who powered it past St. Pat's keeper Brendan Clarke.

Eggimann with number two

That was that for the first half, but just two minutes after the restart the home side hit easy street. Mario Eggiman, a 38th-minute substitute for the injured Christian Schulz, met a Konstantin Rausch corner at the near post with another header, this one going in off the underside of the bar.

Another sub, Artur Sobiech, fluffed a chance to make it three with only keeper Clarke to beat in the 57th minute and the Dublin team's keeper pulled off a great save from a curling Mohammed Abdellaoue shot with just under 20 minutes to go. In the closing stages, the Norwegian frontman then passed up a couple of decent opportunities to match the first-leg score as the contest faded out to its by now inevitable conclusion.


Hannover: Zieler - Cherundolo, Haggui, Schulz (Eggimann 38'), Rausch - Pinto (Schmiedebach 64'), Andreasen - Stindl, Huszti - Ya Konan (Sobiech 46'), Abdellaoue

St. Pat's: Clarke - O'Brien, Kenna, Browne, Bermingham Chambers - Russell (Carrol 64'), Bolger - Forrester (Meenan 58') O'Connor - Fagan (Flood 80')

Goals: 1-0 Haggui (32'), Eggimann (47')