Hamburg vs. Fulham Europa League – match preview and betting picks

europa leagueHamburg will take on Fulham tonight at 21:05 CET in the first leg of the Europa League semi-finals at Nordbank Arena in Hamburg. The Germans are the overwhelming favorites for the game tonight, but it will be interesting whether Fulham can continue their great Europa League run and secure a good result before the home game at Craven Cottage. We have taken a closer look at this interesting match-up and found the best betting opportunities on the match.

The big surprise

Fulham have so far been the big surprise in Europa League this year, where they have caused one upset after the other. On their way to the semi-finals they have beaten the current Europa League champions Shaktar Donetsk, the Italian giant Juventus and the defending German champions Wolfsburg. In the domestic league they have not shown the same confidence and have only won one of the last six matches in Premier League, which mean they will not be qualifying for Europe again next year and that this is their chance to do something this year. Unfortunately the currently fly situation meant they had to travel by coach to Germany and although manager Roy Hodgson has an almost full squad to choose from, the 27 hour trip will leave a mark tonight. Clint Dempsey will be returning for Fulham for the match and only Andrew Johnson is out with injury, while John Pantsil, Stefano Okaka and Nicky Shorey all are ineligible.

This said the German team is not going to be easy to beat in tonight’s game. In their Europa League campaign they have already put a stop to Standard Liege, Anderlecht and PSV Eindhoven on their way through the knockout rounds and at the same time they must be extra motivated as the final is played in Hamburg this year. After poor performances in the Bundesliga lately with only one victory in six games, it will also be their last chance of a trophy and some glory this season. Hamburg also made it to the semi-finals in last years Europa League, which could turn out to be a great advantage against the less experienced opponent. For the match today Hamburg will be missing their normal striker Mladen Petric due to injury and is also without experienced midfielder Marcell Jansen. Although the loss of top score Petric is hard, the Germans are looking for former world class striker Ruud van Nistelrooy to take over, which must be considered a good replacement.

Hamburg putting the pressure on Fullham

In tonight’s match we expect Hamburg to put pressure on Fulham and to dominate the game to get a good result before the game at Craven Cottage. The Germans does have the better team on paper and should be able to put an end to Fulham’s great run. At same time they must try to score more than one goal as Fulham has showed more than once how dangerous they are at home. Of cause the Germans will be careful not to concede goals themselves, but knowing how well Fulham have been playing at Craven Cottage in Europa League this season, they will likely try to win with at least two goals tonight.

The match odds is currently 1.67 for Hamburg to win, 3.60 for the draw and 5.25 for Fulham to win at 888sport. As evident from the odds Hamburg is the big favorite to win and should be able to do so playing at home. Our betting tips for the match is to pick Hamburg as the winner and the same time players should consider playing the handicap bet on Hamburg at odds 3.00. We find it very likely that Hamburg will try to close the game tonight before going to Craven Cottage and although Fulham has done well so far in the Europa League this will probably be the end for them.

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