The carrot of a European final at their home stadium hangs before Hamburger SV but semi-final opponents Fulham FC will be keen to extend their most successful season on the continent.
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A final appearance at their own home stadium is within touching distance of Hamburger SV, but they will not underestimate a Fulham FC side who are in the semi-finals of a major European competition for the first time in their history.
• The sides have never met in Europe.
• Hamburg have played 12 games against English sides in European club competition, with the record W4 D2 L6: W4 D1 L1 at home. Those ties include a 1-0 loss to Nottingham Forest FC in the 1979/80 European Champion Clubs' Cup final in Madrid.
• Those previous meetings include four two-legged knockout ties, of which HSV won three and lost one, going down 7-1 on aggregate to Liverpool FC in the 1977 UEFA Super Cup.
• Their best result against an English side – home or away – remains a 4-1 win against Burnley FC in the 1960/61 European Cup quarter-final second leg. Their worst was a 6-0 loss at Anfield in the aforementioned UEFA Super Cup game.
• Arsenal FC are the only team from England to have won at the Hamburg Arena, prevailing 2-1 in a 2006/07 UEFA Champions League group-stage fixture.
• Fulham are playing against German opposition for the second round in succession, having beaten reigning Bundesliga champions VfL Wolfsburg 2-1 at home and 1-0 away in the quarter-finals.
• Four Weddings and a Funeral actor Hugh Grant caused a stir in Germany as Fulham's one-time assistant groundsman attended the Cottagers' 1-0 win at the VfL Wolfsburg Arena.
• Fulham's only other games against German opposition marked the end of their 2002/03 UEFA Cup campaign. They lost 2-1 at Hertha BSC Berlin before drawing 0-0 at Queens Park Rangers FC's Loftus Road – their then temporary home – in the third round.
• Thus Fulham's record in four games against German sides reads W2 D1 L1 (W1 D0 L1 in Germany).
• This is Hamburg's ninth appearance in the semi-finals of a major UEFA club competition. They have won five of their previous last-four ties and lost three, most recently bowing out to Werder Bremen in last season's UEFA Cup.
• Fulham have long since eclipsed their best season in Europe, and have reached a major European semi-final for the first time in their history.
• Hamburg are unbeaten in their last seven home games, recording six wins and a 0-0 draw since losing 1-0 to Randers FC in the third qualifying round of this season's competition.
• Fulham's record in eight European away games this term reads W3 D2 L3, but they have only once failed to score on their 2009/10 continental travels.
• Hamburg striker Ruud van Nistelrooy will need little introduction to Fulham fans, having played in nine games against the Cottagers with Manchester United FC from 2001 to 2006 with the record W7 D1 L1 (W5 D0 L1 at home).
• The Dutch striker scored ten times in those fixtures, all but three of them against his future United team-mate and countryman Edwin van der Sar; seven at Old Trafford and three at Fulham.
• Fulham manager Roy Hodgson faced Hamburg in the 2005/06 UEFA Cup group stage, with his Viking FK side – which featured current Fulham defender Brede Hangeland – losing 2-0 at the Hamburg Arena.
• Piotr Trochowski is the only current Hamburg player who featured in that game.
• In total, prior to joining Fulham Hodgson had coached in five games against German opposition, with the record W2 D0 L3 (W0 D0 L3 in Germany).
• In his two two-legged ties against German opposition, Hodgson's Halmstads BK side lost to 1. FC Dynamo Dresden in the 1977/78 European Cup first round while his FC Internazionale Milano charges lost the 1997 UEFA Cup final on penalties against FC Schalke 04 after the teams traded 1-0 home wins.
• Hamburg's David Rozehnal and Fulham's Damien Duff were team-mates at Newcastle United FC in 2007/08. Newcastle won 1-0 at Craven Cottage on 15 December 2007 in Rozehnal's only game against the London side.
• HSV's Marcus Berg and Fulham's Erik Nevland were team-mates at FC Groningen in 2007/08.
• Hamburg's Mladen Petrić and Fulham's Pascal Zuberbühler played together at FC Basel 1893 from 2004 to 2006, winning the title in Petrić's first season.
• Petrić – and indeed Züberbuhler – came up against Fulham's first-choice keeper Mark Schwarzer in the 2005/06 UEFA Cup quarter-finals, as Basel took on Middlesbrough FC. The English side lost 2-0 in Switzerland, and went a goal behind in the second leg only to win the match 4-1 en route to a final defeat.
• HSV defender Guy Demel spent 2000/01 in England with Arsenal FC, without making a single league appearance.
• The brother of Hamburg defender Jerome Boateng, Kevin-Prince Boateng, plays in the Premier League with Portsmouth FC.
• Hodgson was Petrić's coach at Grasshopper-Club in 1999/2000, though the striker made just two substitute appearances in the league that campaign. The Zurich club finished fourth, with Hodgson moving on to FC København.
• Australian goalkeeper Schwarzer's parents were born in Germany, and he played there with Dynamo Dresden (1994-95) and 1. FC Kaiserslautern (1995-96) before moving to England. Hamburg coach Bruno Labbadia also played for Kaiserslautern from 1988 to 1991.
• Zuberbühler played 13 Bundesliga games while on loan from Basel at Bayer 04 Leverkusen in 2000/01. Hamburg midfielder Zé Roberto was among his team-mates at the BayArena.
• Fulham forwards Bobby Zamora (38) and Zoltán Gera (26) have committed more fouls than any other players in the UEFA Europa League. Zamora has also been ruled offside more than any player left in the last four – 21 in total.
• Hamburg's David Jarolím has been fouled 29 times, more than any other player left in the competition.
• Zamora is the highest scoring active player in the competition with six goals, while team-mate Bjørn Helge Riise has made more assists than any other player in the semi-finals with four.
• As a Hamburg player between 1977 and 1980, Kevin Keegan helped HSV to the 1978/79 Bundesliga title, winning the Ballon d'Or that year and playing in the 1980 European Cup final. Keegan, who earned the nickname 'Mighty Mouse' in Germany, was Fulham manager in 1998/99, guiding the club to promotion from the English third tier before leaving to become England manager.
• The second leg takes place at Craven Cottage on 29 April, with the winners facing either Club Atlético de Madrid or Liverpool FC in the final at the Hamburg Arena on 12 May. Both Fulham and Hamburg competed in the UEFA Europa League group stage, while Atlético and Liverpool finished third in their UEFA Champions League groups.
• Since the UEFA Cup was decided with a one-off final at a neutral venue for the first time in 1997/98, two sides have played in the decider at their home stadium. Feyenoord beat BV Borussia Dortmund 3-2 at their De Kuip home in 2001/02, but Sporting Clube de Portugal lost 3-1 to PFC CSKA Moskva in 2004/05 at their Estádio José Alvalade.
• Seven UEFA Cup finals have been contested by sides from the same association, though there have been no all-English encounters since the very first edition of the UEFA Europa League's precursor:
1971/72 – ENG: Tottenham Hotspur FC beat Wolverhampton Wanderers FC
1979/80 – GER: Eintracht Frankfurt beat VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach
1989/90 – ITA: Juventus beat ACF Fiorentina
1990/91 – ITA: FC Internazionale Milano beat AS Roma
1994/95 – ITA: Parma FC beat Juventus
1997/98 – ITA: FC Internazionale Milano beat S.S. Lazio
2006/07 – ESP: Sevilla FC beat RCD Espanyol