Hamburg manager fighting for job

Hamburg SV coach Bruno Labbadia knows he could be out of a job if they fail to advance past Fulham in their Europa League semi-final.

Getting a good result in the first leg on Thursday is crucial for the northern German side, who have slipped to seventh in the Bundesliga after a disastrous second part of the season saw them record only four wins in 14 games. They are also unlikely to claim a place in the Europa League next season.

Labbadia said his team had not played to their full potential in a shock 1-0 defeat to visitors Mainz at the weekend, but he could be the one paying the price if Hamburg fail to advance to the Europa League final on May 12 at their own stadium.

Labbadia will be able to call on striker Paolo Guerrero for the match against Fulham. The Peruvian is suspended from league duty for an attack on a fan.

"Unfortunately I had to watch from the stands on the weekend and could not help the team but I am available for the Europa League," said the 26-year-old striker, who missed most of the season with a cruciate ligament injury.

"I want to show that I am back in top form."

Hamburg will be missing experienced midfielder Marcell Jansen, whose World Cup hopes are in doubt due to a long-term injury.

Fulham have had to travel by train under the English Channel due to the flight disruptions from the volcanic ash spreading from Iceland, and the semi-finals of a major European competition represents uncharted waters for the west London club.

A little more than two years after coach Roy Hodgson arrived with the club in dire danger of relegation, any sense of inferiority on the European stage was blown away by their stunning victory over Juventus and their elimination of German champions VfL Wolfsburg in the last two rounds.

"The most important thing is staying focused on the task in hand and just get on with it," defender Aaron Hughes told www.fulhamfc.com.

"We know what's at stake and we've done really, really well to get here and we're eager not to let it go. We want to take that extra step to the final.

"There are a lot of us that haven't won something so prestigious. Obviously Danny Murphy's won a few trophies with Liverpool but the majority of us haven't so for us it would be a big thing."

Fans who endured their last two goalless Premier League games will be hoping for better things on Thursday but only a few hundred are expected to attend the game because of the travel difficulties.

Bobby Zamora, who has scored six goals in the competition this season, is Fulham's key weapon and is seeking his 20th goal in all to support his late bid for an England World Cup call-up.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue