Date: 8th April 2009 at 7:14pm
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Manchester City face a tough task as they travel to Germany to face Bundesliga giants, Hamburg SV.

Hughes will need to instill some belief in his side who have only managed a handful of vicories in what what is becoming one of the worst away records in Premier League football.

Martin Jol’s side are second only to goal difference following last weekend’s 1-0 victory over Hoffenheim and will be tough opposition for the travel sick Blues.

Vital Quotes:

Mark Hughes spoke at length about Thursdays opposition Hamburg SV and hopes City can emmulate the UEFA Cup victory over Shalke 04 earlier in the competition. The City boss commented: ‘We put in a great performance against Schalke and came away with a valuable win. That should give us confidence, because this will be a similar situation. We will be up against good-quality opposition in a fantastic stadium, and there will be good support for the home side, which we will have to deal with.

‘We have a number of injury issues that we hope will resolve themselves, but we are looking forward to it. We want to be in a position after the first leg where we can go on and seal it in the second.

‘Hamburg are doing exceptionally well domestically and will be confident having won again at the weekend, so it`s a big test for us. We’ve really enjoyed the UEFA Cup run and we have every intention of keeping it going.

‘We’re looking to get a good result, and then bring it back home in front of a full house for a great European night in Manchester.

‘The stakes are higher now we are at the quarter-final stage of the competition, there is a lot of focus on this game and everything becomes higher profile the nearer you get to the final.

‘We met them in pre-season, but things are very different for both teams now. I have come up against Martin before and had a decent record against him in competitive games, hopefully that will continue.’

Hamburger SV Team News:

Hamburg boss Martin Jol has called up veteran Volker Schmidt and the little-known reserve team youngster Kai-Fabian Schulz to his squad.

Long term Hamburg absentees include Bastian Reinhardt, Thimothee Atouba, Romeo Castelen, Maxim Choupo-Moting, Guy Demel and Alex Silva.

There were doubts over Paolo Guerrero (bruised ankle) and Collin Benjamin (thigh problem) but these players have since been assessed and declared fit for the Manchester City clash.

Player to watch: Ivica Olic

Olic is one of two Croatian forwards (Mladen Petric) that have the potential to cause Manchester City a lot of problems at the back.

With seven UEFA Cup goals to his name, Olic knows how to find the back of the net against tough European opposition.

Onouha and Dunne will need to stay strong otherwise Shay Given will have a busy night.

Manchester City FC Team News:

Bulgarian winger Martin Petrov will be a huge boost to Manchester City as he comes back from his knee injury which has kept him out of action for the majority of the season. Petrov made his comeback for the reserves against Newcastle on Monday and will probably start on the bench.

Midfield playmaker Stephen Ireland and January addition Wayne Bridge have travelled to Germany and hope to overcome their repective injuries in time for the kick-off.

Former Hamburg team-mates Kompany (hamstring)and Nigel De Jong (cup-tied) will play no part in the UEFA Cup quarter final clash.

Player to watch: Martin Petrov

If Martin Petrov gets onto the pitch, he can cause havok against any defence.

Petrov has been sorely missed through the season and now he is back, he will allow Robinho to join the City strike force up-front.

Expect big things from the Bulgarian, he is capable of winning games.

Match Facts & Stats

In 1982, Former Manchester City manager Sven-Göran Eriksson guided IFK Göteborg to the UEFA Cup final where they beat Hamburger SV 4-0 to claim the trophy.

In March 2008, UEFA awarded the rights to host the 2010 UEFA Europa League Final to the HSH Nordbank Arena.

The HSH Nordbank Arena is one of UEFA’s 5 star stadiums which enables it to host the UEFA Cup and the UEFA Champions League Final.

The arena was one of the 12 stadiums used in the 2006 Football World Cup, which hosted four group games and a quarter final.

HSV fans can be buried at a dedicated graveyard near the home stadium, covered in turf from the original Hamburg pitch.

Ref Watch:

Experienced Portugese official Olegário Benquerença takes charge of this tightly contested affair. He has refereed eleven matches in the Champions League and eleven matches in the UEFA Cup and was preselected as a referee for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Match Prediction:

Manchester City will need to give as good as they get if they are to get anything from this quarter-final against an incredibly strong Hamburg side. City have been much improved on their away travels in Europe and if you take away the last 10 minutes against Aalborg, Hughes’ men have played rather well. I think Martin Jol will be looking to win this comfortably as he will know a visit to COMS won’t be easy. Expect City to come out full throttle on the counter, the only question is: ‘Can we put away our chances?’ This is an extremely difficult game to call but I think City have enough to edge it. Hamburg 0-1 MCFC.

Next Fixtures:

Home to Fulham on Sunday 12th April at 4.10pm


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