Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone praised his side's determination after Eduardo Salvio's late winner handed them a vital 2-1 lead to take to Hannover for the second leg of their Europa League quarter-final next week.
The hosts burst into an early lead through Radamel Falcao's goal after nine minutes but suffered a setback when Mame Biram Diouf equalised for the Germans just before half-time and Simeone was delighted with how his side continued to fight until the end despite never playing their best football.
"At the end of the match we aren't in the comfortable position that we deserve to be," he said. "In the first half we started well and could have scored a second, but then our level started to drop.
"They scored with their first chance and we couldn't find the goal that would have settled us down.
"In the second half the team had a lot of heart and strength and although we lacked a little bit of clarity in the final third we were still just winners."
Hannover boss Mirko Slomka also admitted that Atleti had deserved the victory on the balance of play but was disappointed to lose a goal so late on.
He said: "You never accept a defeat but we have to be aware that we still have a chance to change things at home. It was a deserved result because Atletico had many more chances but it hurts to lose a goal in the final minutes."
Slomka is hoping his side can improve for the return in northern Germany next week, but believes the Spaniards are favourites to progress.
He said: "We have to be stronger, play more offensively and obviously win in the second leg but Atletico have more experience, very good players and they remain the favourites."