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Hoffenheim's Rangnick plays down title talk

HOFFENHEIM, October 27 (Bundesliga) - Hoffenheim coach Ralf Rangnick has dismissed talk of a title challenge and instead claimed he is simply pleased his table-topping side have proved they have the quality to avoid relegation.

While most of Germany is talking about the possibility of newly-promoted Hoffenheim winning the Bundesliga, the man who has overseen their remarkable rise to prominence is more concerned about them preserving their top-flight status.

Speaking after Sunday's 3-0 hammering of Hamburg - a result which moved Hoffenheim a point clear of Bayer Leverkusen at the summit - Rangnick said: "Why should we start altering our aims for the season or start thinking about the upper echelons of the table?

"We don't know what will happen next May, but we want to keep developing as a team and win every game.

"I don't believe we will be relegated with a team like this.

"There is no doubting the quality of the lads, but they must not believe what they read in the newspaper.

"It is incredible what this team has achieved over the last two and a half years."

When Rangnick arrived, Hoffenheim were in the third division with a five-year plan to reach the top flight.

Having made it there in the shortest possible timeframe, the man who has funded their rise, businessman Dietmar Hopp, is already making more ambitious plans.

"My Hoffenheim has no limits," Hopp told Italy's Tuttosport newspaper.

"Our aim is to qualify for the Champions League."

Hopp has also earmarked one possible transfer target in January.

"I want to buy (Alberto) Aquilani," he said. "We are going to make an offer for the Roma midfielder."


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