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Rivals ready to explore uncharted territory

Both Fulham FC and VfL Wolfsburg are treading new ground as they prepare for their first UEFA club competition quarter-final with the prize of a last-four berth the considerable incentive for both.

Rivals ready to explore uncharted territory
Rivals ready to explore uncharted territory ©UEFA.com

Both Fulham FC and reigning German champions VfL Wolfsburg are enjoying their best ever seasons in UEFA club competition and will now look to go a step further when they meet in their UEFA Europa League quarter-final.

Previous meetings
• The two sides have never met before. In Fulham's only previous encounter with German opposition, they lost 2-1 away and drew 0-0 at home against Hertha BSC Berlin in the third round of the 2002/03 UEFA Cup. Wolfsburg defender Alexander Madlung was an unused substitute in the first leg.

• Wolfsburg have played three games against English sides, beating Portsmouth FC 3-2 in last season's UEFA Cup group stage before losing 2-1 away and 3-1 at home against Manchester United FC in the UEFA Champions League group stage earlier this term.

• Bosnia-Herzegovina striker Edin Džeko has scored in all three of Wolfsburg's games against Premier League opposition.

Match background
• Neither side have reached the quarter-finals of a major UEFA club competition before.

• Fulham's 4-1 second-leg win in their round of 16 tie against Juventus matched the Londoners' biggest margin of victory in Europe and means that they remain unbeaten in 14 UEFA club home games since making their continental debut in the 2002 UEFA Intertoto Cup.

• Fulham have won their last three European home fixtures.

• Wolfsburg have drawn both of their away matches since transferring from the UEFA Champions League group stage, but they have won only once away from home this season, beating Beşiktaş JK 3-0 in Istanbul.

Team facts
• Fulham have committed more fouls than any other team left in the UEFA Europa League this year: 149 going into the first leg.

• Valencia CF have the worst UEFA Europa League disciplinary record of the eight sides left in the competition, with 34 yellow cards and four reds since the start of the group stage. Fulham have also had four men sent off, but have had only 16 bookings.

• Fulham have been marginally more dangerous in the first halves of their games, with ten goals coming before the interval and six after. Five of their 16 successful efforts have come between the 31st and 45th minutes.

• Grafite is Wolfsburg's top scorer in Europe this season with six goals – three in the UEFA Champions League and three in the UEFA Europa League. However, Džeko is just behind him on five goals (four in the UEFA Champions League and one in the UEFA Europa League).

• Zoltán Gera is Fulham's top scorer since the start of the group stage with five goals, but Bobby Zamora is just one behind on four.

• Zamora has conceded 35 fouls in this season's UEFA Europa League, more than any other player.

• Fulham manager Roy Hodgson coached in five European games against German opposition with Halmstads BK, FC Internazionale Milano and most recently Viking FK, with his record reading W2 D0 L3. He has won both of his home games against Bundesliga sides, but lost all three of his games in Germany.

• As coach of Inter, Hodgson suffered the pain of losing the 1996/97 UEFA Cup final on penalties against German opponents FC Schalke 04.

• Born in Australia to German parents, Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer can draw on some experience of German football having represented 1. FC Dynamo Dresden (1994/95) and 1. FC Kaiserslautern (1995/96) before moving to England, initially with Bradford City FC.

• Wolfsburg and Fulham are the least experienced teams in the quarter-finals, going into the first leg as veterans of 48 and 28 UEFA club competition games respectively.

• Four of the sides in the last eight competed in the UEFA Europa League group stage: SL Benfica, Fulham, Hamburger SV and Valencia. The other four transferred from the UEFA Champions League group stage: Club Atlético de Madrid, Liverpool FC, R. Standard de Liège and Wolfsburg.

• By a quirk of the draw, all four quarter-final ties feature one side from the UEFA Champions League group stage and one from the UEFA Europa League.

• The tie concludes in Wolfsburg on 8 April. The winners face the victors in the contest between Hamburg and Standard in the semi-finals on 22 and 29 April, playing the second leg at home. Whoever comes through those games will be the nominal away team in the final in Hamburg on 12 May.