Hamburg vs Fulham: Ash to decide game?

Bookies are lengthening odds on a Fulham win in Germany in Thursday’s Europa League game against Hamburg because of the disruption caused to their preparations and travel by the Icelandic volcano cloud.

ash cloud

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Roy Hodgson’s men faced a round-trip of more than 1,000 miles by coach, a fact that could leave the players drained and has left the Cottagers boss understandably upset.

He, like Rafa Benitez, wanted the games to be postponed because of the likely advantage the situation has handed to the home teams. Tuesday evening’s 3-1 defeat of Barcelona by Inter Milan provides evidence that their concerns are justified.

But Fulham have upset the apple cart on numerous occasions in this campaign and clearly relish their underdog status, as Basel, Shakhtar Donetsk, Juventus and Wolfsburg have discovered to their cost.

Working for the London outfit once again will be the presence of Bobby Zamora, who has had his best season and scored the well-taken goal that consigned Wolfsburg to the Europa League dustbin for another year.

Hodgson will be without Clint Dempsey but could bring back John Paintsil who was on the bench for last weekend’s fixture against Wolves. Hangeland, Duff, Konchesky and an impressive Zoltan Gera should all start.

For their part HSV have a few injury problems to concern them, including the absence of Marcell Janssen and Mladen Petric who suffer injury problems. But biggest headache of all is key absentee winger Eljero Elia, who is out for the season.

Although Fulham have impressed, we should not forget their fairly miserable away form which has dogged them. Back-to-back wins on German soil seems unlikely given their travel woes.

Hamburg have Ruud van Nisterooy available to hassle Fulham’s defenders, while you wouldn’t bet against Zamora snatching another goal for his tally.

Best bet: More than 2.5 goals @2.0 on Betfair

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