Fulham FC have the advantage in their UEFA Europa League quarter-final with VfL Wolfsburg but Alexander Madlung's goal with a minute left ensured the German side left London with hopes intact after a 2-1 first-leg defeat.
This stage of a major European competition was maiden territory for both clubs, and coupled with mutual indifferent domestic form that perhaps explained a tentative first half. However, Bobby Zamora's fine strike just before the hour was quickly added to by Damien Duff before Madlung's late header gave Wolfsburg an away goal for next Thursday's second leg.
In a low-key opening Christian Gentner forced the first save of the night from Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer on 20 minutes, quickly followed by Zoltán Gera testing Diego Benaglio at the other end. Zamora, who overcame illness to start, made Benaglio palm away an effort from a tight angle while Wolfsburg's top scorer, Edin Džeko, had recovered from a knee injury and set up Grafite to blaze over.
Zamora and Dickson Etuhu both came close with headers in sporadic Fulham attacks often sparked by Paul Konchesky down the left. On half-time the hero against Juventus, Clint Dempsey, shot just wide.
Džeko had a great chance five minutes after the interval but headed off target from close range and seconds later Schwarzer blocked Grafite's strong drive. However, just before the hour mark it was Fulham who were ahead, Gera from the left finding Zamora outside the box. After he was given space by Duff's dummy run, his shot eluded the diving Benaglio.
There was not long to wait for the second, Konchesky squaring from the left and Zamora laying the ball back for Duff to finish on 63 minutes. Grafite shot over with ten minutes left and substitute Obafemi Martins made Schwarzer dive and save, but VfL's late rally seemed to be coming to nothing until Zvjezdan Misimović's cross was headed in by Madlung.
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