My girlfriend is always on about the words that could be made by the abbreviations of the team names in the top left hand corner of televised matches. Obviously for this EUROPEAN SEMI-FINAL there is a rather appropriate word that will be created. If this had been on Sky though it would not have worked as they have taken to using only two letters (probably to 'differentiate themselves from the other channels') and a game between FU - HA doesn't have quite the same poetry.
Surprisingly Hamburg have sacked their manager Bruno Labbadia this week, which is probably bad news for the whites as it seems pretty clear that the players hated him. Without Labbadia, the players might play with much more freedom at Craven Cottage. But Woy's amazed us in getting this far and despite being underdogs yet again, Fulham could easily progress to the final. All you need is a little bit of luck to go your way.
Anyway here are some stats from the UEFA website:
- There were no goals last week when the sides met in Germany, with Fulham defending heroically. Tellingly, Hamburg had five shots on goal while their guests had none, and were also well on top in terms of corners (7-1) and offsides (3-1).
- Hamburg have now played 13 games against English sides in European club competition, with the record W4 D3 L6: (W0 D1 L4 in England).
- Hamburg have yet to win in five trips to England, avoiding defeat only once, with a 0-0 draw against Southampton FC at The Dell in a 1984/85 UEFA Cup first round opener.
- Prior to last week's stalemate in Hamburg, Fulham had only once drawn the first leg of a European tie away from home, holding Bologna FC 2-2 in one of the 2002 UEFA Intertoto Cup finals, before winning the return fixture 3-1 in London.
- Hamburg have drawn 0-0 at home in the opening leg of three previous European ties, going on to win the most recent two of them (one on away goals). They were undone in the 1983 UEFA Super Cup, however, losing 2-0 at Alex Ferguson's Aberdeen FC.
- Fulham remain unbeaten in 15 European home games (11 wins, four draws) since making their continental debut in the 2002 UEFA Intertoto Cup. They have conceded more than one goal just once when holding European matches, drawing 2-2 with HNK Hajduk Split in the 2002/03 UEFA Cup first round, and have won their last four home fixtures in the UEFA Europa League.
- Fulham have never been involved in a European penalty shoot-out. Hamburg lost their only European penalty shoot-out 4-3 on home turf against Dutch opponents Sparta Rotterdam following a 2-2 aggregate draw in the 1985/86 UEFA Cup first round.
- Fulham have three players who will miss the final if they receive a yellow card: Paul Konchesky, Bobby Zamora and Zoltan Gera. Hamburg have six.
- Turkish referee Cüneyt Çakır has officiated in four matches (including internationals) involving English teams with the English side triumphing on each occasion. He has only officiated in one match involving a team from Germany, which the German side lost. I've just noticed he is also two months younger than me, the bastard.