Date: 15th April 2009 at 7:33pm
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This is arguably Mark Hughes’ most important game of the season and it could be Manchester City’s last opportunity to qualify for Europe.

Like City, Martin Jol’s Hamburg suffered a crucial defeat at the weekend and will be looking for a silver lining to their season.

This game promises much excitement and if City get their 2-0 win, this would reiterate City’s global ambitions to the world and could be City’s defining moment.

Vital Quotes:

Shaun Wright-Phillips said ahead of the pivotal game: ‘All I’ll say is that it’s not over until the fat lady sings.

‘It’s not finished until the whole tie is done. We are recognised as being very good at home, and if we play the way we usually do, we will make enough chances to win 2-0.

‘It’s a matter of taking those chances on the night. We have to put them on the back foot straight away.

‘Anything is possible. If we go out there and play the way we know we can on Thursday, it will be difficult for Hamburg.

‘Everyone is confident, we’ve spoken about it already and we have got the belief that we need.’

Former Hamburg player Nigel De Jong added: ‘HSV are the favourites to go through, they showed that in the first leg,’ De Jong told Bild. ‘They really made a strong impression there, but I am not surprised by this.

‘The team has been strong all the way through this season and is now playing with a lot of confidence – and confidence is important to success.

‘Still, I feel we could win the match 2-0. We are playing at home and, despite the fact that losing 3-1 at Hamburg was a tough blow, anything is possible now we are playing at home.’

Manchester City FC Team News:

Brazilian striker Robinho who started on the bench in Sunday’s lackluster defeat by Fulham is expected to regain his starting position.

Craig Bellamy and Benjani Mwaruwari miss the game due to injury while Shaun Wright-Phillips, Vincent Kompany and Wayne Bridge will face late fitness tests.

Nigel de Jong is cup-tied while Valeri Bojinov isn’t registered.

Player to watch: Stephen Ireland

He scored a fantastic goal last Thursday, scored an amazing goal on Sunday and City fans will be hoping he scores a spectacular goal this Thursday.

City fans also hope that we don’t concede three goals after he scores!

Hamburger SV Team News:

Hamburg defenders Collin Benjamin and Guy Demel will miss the City match due to injury.



Player to watch: José Paolo Guerrero

Guerrero put the final nail in the coffin in Hamburg’s 3-1 win.

After overcoming his injury prior to the first leg, the star striker should now be in scintillating form for the visitors and will need to be closely marked.

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.

With Tottenham Hotspur FC, Hamburg boss Martin Jol won six out of six against City.

Ref Watch:

Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli is in charge of this game. As well as an official, he is also an Architect.

Match Prediction:

Never say never as Liverpool came close to proving at Stamford Bridge midweek. It wouldn’t surprise me if City got a 2-0 win, nor would it surprise me if City went up 2-0 only to concede a goal in injury time. My heart says that my beloved Blues can go through, but my head says that this season is falling apart and we will lose. I will plump for a 2-1 win for City, close but no cigar.

Next Fixtures:

Home to West Brom on Sunday 19th April 2009 at 3pm.

 

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