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Mathijsen looks to rise after HSV's fall

Joris Mathijsen says the Hamburger SV dressing room has been difficult amid the recent turmoil but "life goes on" – especially with a UEFA Europa League final on home turf to play for.

Joris Mathijsen and Ruud van Nistelrooy applaud Hamburg's fans after their quarter-final win
Joris Mathijsen and Ruud van Nistelrooy applaud Hamburg's fans after their quarter-final win ©Getty Images

Joris Mathijsen has vowed that Hamburger SV will put a difficult few days behind them and give "their absolute all" to overcome Fulham FC and book a place in next month's UEFA Europa League final on home turf.

The Bundesliga club's preparations for the semi-final decider have hardly been ideal since last week's goalless first leg. They followed it up with a 5-1 loss at TSG 1899 Hoffenheim on Sunday, Bruno Labbadia's last act as coach as he made way for assistant Ricardo Moniz a day later. "The last few days have been difficult; when something like this happens it's difficult for the whole team, it's like a defeat," said Mathijsen. "However, we're professional and think we can get through it.

"Last season we were also in the semi-finals [losing to Werder Bremen] but this season we have the added motivation of the final being at our own stadium so we're going to give it our absolute all," added the centre-back, who will miss the 12 May showpiece if he is booked at Craven Cottage. "Monday was not good but yesterday we trained well and life goes on. How many times in your career do you play in a European semi-final? We will do everything we can to win."

Hamburg were frustrated by a disciplined, if unadventurous, performance from their Premier League opponents last week. Fulham did not a register a shot on target and Mathijsen's hopes playing at home will coerce Roy Hodgson's men into adopting a more positive approach. "They played very defensively last week but they travelled for a long time and that's perhaps a reason," said the Dutch international. "They're at home so they have to come out and do more but it might still be their tactics because they have a great defence. The pitch is not that big and, of course, that's an advantage for Fulham."