Fulham play tomorrow against Wolfsburg in Germany. This is the second leg of the quarterfinals in the Europa League. The game takes place at 8:05PM UK Time and 3:05PM EST. The game will be shown in the U.S. on Direc TV only.
Fulham won the first leg at Craven Cottage last Thursday 2 - 1. To move ahead to the semifinals, Roy Hogdson's Cottagers need to either tie or win tomorrow against Wolfsburg. This will be a tough challenge on the road for the Cottagers. The German champions impressed me with their skill up front. Below are " My 5 Keys to Victory for Fulham in the Europa League against Wolfsburg.".
1. Fulham need to survive the first 20 minutes without ging up a goal . Mark Schwarzer and the defense need to be on top of their game. I see this game as similar to the Shakhtar Donetsk game on the road. Shakhtar came out real strong in the first 20 minutes. Fulham were able to survive the beginning stages of the match without giving up a goal. They were able to score a goal later in the first half and took control of the match. If Fulham can survive the beginning of the match, and then potentially score a goal they could be on their way to moving on in the Europa League.
2. Fuham need Mark Schwarzer to play an exceptional match. Mark Schwarzer has been great this year for Fulham. The goals Mark tends to give up are beyond his control. I hardly ever see him give up a soft goal. Similar to the Shakhtar Donetsk match on the road I think Schwarzer will be under constant pressure in the beginning of the match. Edin Dzeko is a real talent but he is not the only threat. Grafite is also a striker Fulham need to watch. For Fulham to move ahead in the Europa League Mark Schwarzer needs to be exceptional. I have a feeling he is going to need a few incredbile saves to deny Dzeko and company.
3. Fulham need to be near perfect on set pieces. Fulham at times have struggled against set pieces. In the first leg against Juventus , Fulham gave up a few goals that set pieces were involved. In the last match against Wolfsburg, the Germans scored off of a play starting from a corner kick. After the corner kick, Zvjezdan Misimovic sent a great ball into the box that was headed in by Alexander Madlung. On the road Fulham cannot afford to give up a goal off of a set piece. Players like Hangeland and Hughes will be crucial during these plays.
4. Fulham need to take advantage of any opening Wolfsburg gives them to score. Like I mentioned prior I expect Wolfsburg to come out extremely strong with strong pressure. If Fulham can get some counter attacks off of this pressure it could lead to a goal. I think there could be a few opportunities tomorrow to take advantage of Wolfsburg aggressive play.
5. Damien Duff needs to be dangerous tomorrow. I have become a big fan of Duff. I think his ability to make some great runs could set up some serious scoring chances for Fulham. If he can feed the ball into Zamora and Gera I like Fulham's chances in scoring tomorrow. Also, if he has an opportunity to shoot he should let it fly. He has a rocket shot that can get by the goalkeeper.
Tomorrow night's game is just another great opportunity for Fulham to shine. This has been an incredible season no matter what happens tomorrow. Let's hope the Cottagers can find a way to the Europa League Semifinals.