Versatile defender Guy Demel is adamant "no other side" will block Hamburger SV's path to the inaugural UEFA Europa League final, declaring: "We want to play in the final in Hamburg and win."
With the decider scheduled for 12 May at their Hamburg Arena, Bruno Labbadia's team can scent glory, but first they must overcome R. Standard de Liège in the quarter-finals.
"We all have the same dream and ambition: to play in the final in Hamburg and win it," said Demel. "No other side will steal that dream from us, and certainly not Standard at our stadium." Hamburg, who host Standard in Thursday's first leg, eliminated another Belgian club, RSC Anderlecht, in the round of 16.
However, the left-back cum central defender recognises that his side must maintain their impressive European form which contrasts sharply with their recent Bundesliga performances – and a record of 13 points from 11 league games in 2010. "It is important to play with confidence and to play as a team," said the 28-year-old Ivorian international. "We all support our coach and want to win."
In particular, Demel stresses, the northern German outfit need to keep it much tighter at the back. They have conceded eight goals in their four knockout stage games, including three at PSV Eindhoven in the round of 32, and four at Anderlecht last time out. "We play at home first so of course it is important to keep a clean sheet," said the former BV Borussia Dortmund man, who joined Hamburg in 2005. "We know that in theory but it will not be easy."
Not least as Standard have little to lose. Already certain to hand over their Belgian title at season's end, the team that competed in the UEFA Champions League group stage during the autumn have already eliminated an FC Salzburg side led by ex-Hamburg coach Huub Stevens as well as Panathinaikos FC.
"We are looking forward to the quarter-final as we enjoy playing in the Europa League," continued Demel. "Standard are a very good team, though, and it will be tough."
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