So our profit was short-lived. Backing Watford and Rangers to both win on Tuesday night was the touch of death for both sides, as they conceded three and four goals respectively in bad defeats. Sucks.
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Thursday night sees the quarter-finals of the Europa League swing into life, and all of a sudden the bastard competition of the continental scene seems rejuvenated with four exciting ties.
Fulham are flying the Premier League flag high after dispatching the likes of Shakhtar Donetsk and Juventus in earlier rounds, and they’ve been rewarded with a match-up against Wolfsburg (preview here). The reigning German champions have been suffering somewhat from second season syndrome, flaking out the Champions League in the group stages while languishing in mid-table in the Bundesliga.
The Cottagers though are far from being in top form either. Since their sensational victory over the Old Lady, Fulham have lost all three games since the 4-1 home win over Juventus. On the plus side though, Roy Hodgson has been resting players in the league in the knowledge that his side’s only remaining chance of silverware remains in the Europa League.
The other German team left in the competition, Hamburg, face Belgian outfit Standard Liege after knocking out their rival countrymen Anderlecht in the last round.
Much like Fulham though, Hamburg are in a poor run of form having lost three and drawn one of their last four matches, while influential midfielders Marcell Jansen and Eljero Elia are both unavailable. Yet coach Bruno Labbadia does have the likes of Ruud van Nistlerooy, Mladen Petric, Ze Roberto and the exciting centre-half Jerome Boateng in their squad, so confidence will be high that they can get a result.
Standard, who struggled to make any real impact in the Jupiler League this season, have surprised many by getting to the final eight, having edged out Red Bull Salzburg before crushing Panathinaikos4-1 on aggregate in the last round. And overall, since Dominique D’Onofrio took control of the Belgian outfit in early February, there has been a distinct improvement in the level of les Rouchesâ€™ performances, and they are well rested ahead of this fixture.