Fulham play tomorrow against Hamburg at Craven Cottage. This is the second leg of the semifinals in the Europa League. The game takes place at 8:05PM UK Time and 3:05PM EST. The game will be shown on DirecTv live and on taped delay on GolTV at 8PM EST In the United States. You can also go online to UEFA.com to get an online pay option for a live stream of the match.
This match is the biggest game in Fulham history in my opinion. The Cottagers are one game away from a final in a European Competition. Who would have ever predicted this scenario back in July when Fulham began their European adventure?
In the first leg the score line was 0 - 0. Fulham did not get the away goal I had hoped. They need to win at Craven Cottage to advance. There are some factors now involved in the second leg. Fulham will not have Chris Baird available for this match, because of the yellow card he picked up in the first leg. Hamburg will also be without Piotr Trochowski for the same reason. Hamburg also sacked their manager Bruno Labbadia after Hoffenheim beat his club 5 - 1. I will be curious to see how these factors effect the match. Below are"my 5 keys to victory for Fulham in the Europa League against Hamburg."
1. Fulham need to get Bobby Zamora involved right away. I think it is very important to be aggressive in this match. When Bobby Zamora is involved in the match it just sets up goal opportunities for the club. He was instrumental in scoring an early goal in Wolfsburg. Fulham were able to really control the rest of that match. I think it is important If Bobby can create a goal himself or for another teammate early in this match.
2. Fuham need to contain both strikers for Hamburg. Ruud van Nistelrooy had some scoring chances against Fulham. He has scored 9 goals in 11 matches against Fulham. He is by far not the only threat. Mladen Petric came in late in the match and was very active against Fulham. He had some scoring chances of his own. It is imperative that Fulham's back four put the clamps on these two players.
3. Danny Murphy needs to control the midfield. This was a key of mine in the first leg. Fulham really can get control of this match if Danny Murphy can get some great passes up to the strikers tomorrow. He also has the ability to control the pace of the match, if Fulham can control more possession tomorrow.
4. Mark Schwarzer needs to be almost perfect tomorrow. Mark Schwarzer was huge in the first leg. In my opinion, he is a good part of the reason the game ended 0 - 0. If he can come up with a clean sheet I think Fulham have a great chance of advancing. I don't think Fulham can afford to give up more than one goal. That is why I stated Schwarzer needs to be almost perfect.
5. The Fulham fans can be a huge factor tomorrow. Fulham are extremely hard to beat at home. At Craven Cottage the fans are very close to the action on the pitch. It can really help galvanize the club with positive emotion tomorrow. I think the club can really feed off of this encouragement. The fans can also make it difficult for Hamburg with their excitement and noise in this match. I think Craven Cottage could be electric tomorrow. I do think the fans can make a difference.
The opportunity tomorrow is incredible for Fulham. They have a chance at history. These opportunities don't come along all the time. No matter what happens tomorrow, Fulham have shown the soccer world that they can play well in European competitions.