Europa League Preview: Anderlecht - Hamburg

Posted Friday, March 19, 2010 by Goal.com

Commanding a strong 3-1 advantage from the first leg, Bundesliga heavyweights HSV will be confident of marching through to the quarter-finals at the expense of les Mauves et Blancs...

Kick Off: Thursday, March 18, 2010. 21:05 CET
Constant Vanden Stock Stadium, Brussels

Revenge Mission

Anderlecht may be enjoying a successful season on the domestic front, but unless they can muster their best performance of the year, it seems very likely that their Europa League adventure will end on Thursday evening when they tackle Hamburg in Brussels.

The Belgian league leaders are very well positioned domestically, having long sealed their place in the league’s title play-offs, but they face a daunting 3-1 deficit against HSV, with only Jonathan Legear’s first leg goal to cling to as a sign of hope. That strike does provide les Mauves et Blancs with a genuine chance, especially as the players feel that they didn’t do themselves justice in Germany.

“We delivered a great game,” Legear explained after the first leg. “We conceded stupid goals and the cruel reality of it at the end of 90 minutes is the 3-1 scoreline.

“Hopefully we can deliver the same service at home, because we did obtain the necessary chances.”

If Anderlecht are to move through, they will have to confound the history books to some extent. Presently they have a losing record against Bundesliga clubs, but on home soil that does become a little more favourable, with seven victories from their previous 14 matches against teams from Germany’s top flight.

Winning won’t be enough, though. A handsome success is required.

A Little More To Do

Hamburg are not taking anything for granted ahead of this tie, with their players firmly in the mind-set that they are only half way to completing their task of qualifying for the quarter-finals. Goals from Joris Mathijsen, Ruud van Nistelrooy and David Jarolim have built a fine platform for the Germans, who are nevertheless wary of the away goal their hosts on Thursday plundered.

“Overall we are content,” Jarolim told the press after the first leg. “It would have been a lot more useful without that goal against us, but that is always the case in European football.”

Van Nistelrooy expanded upon the midfielder’s comments when he told HSV’s official website: “Anderlecht will give everything in the second leg, that's for certain. We have got to work with full concentration in Belgium to complete our passage to the quarter-finals and move a step closer to the final in our own stadium.”

That the final will take place at the HSH Nordbank Arena is an extra carrot for the Bundesliga side to progress, but Bruno Labbadia’s side have already seen Real Madrid’s dreams of winning a European trophy on home turf ended prematurely this year and will not want to replicate los Blancos.

After a heavy 4-2 domestic defeat against Bayer Leverkusen, HSV should be motivated to achieve a positive result on Thursday as their Champions League hopes for next term effectively went up in smoke with that result. A backlash is expected.

FORM GUIDE

Anderlecht

WON 2-0 (h) Genk (First Division, March 14)

LOST 3-1 (a) Hamburg (Europa League, March 11)

WON 2-0 (a) Charleroi (First Division, March 6)

WON 2-1 (a) Roeselare (First Division, February 28)

WON 4-0 (h) Athletic Bilbao (Europa League, February 25)

Hamburg

LOST 4-2 (a) Bayer Leverkusen (Bundesliga, March 14)

WON 3-1 (h) Anderlecht (Europa League, March 11)

WON 1-0 (h) Hertha (Bundesliga, March 6)

LOST 1-0 (a) Bayern Munich (Bundesliga, February 28)

LOST 3-2 (a) PSV (Europa League, February 25)

TEAM NEWS

Anderlecht

Mbark Boussoufa is back training normally after a knee problem caused him to miss last week’s fixture. There are, however, serious doubts over the fitness of both Lucas Biglia (calf) and Jonathan Legear (ankle). Both will undergo ultrasound scans before the match to determine their ability to play, but it seems very unlikely either will feature.

Olivier Deschacht is a minor concern, whereas Jan Polak and Marcin Wasilewski will miss this tie.

Probable Starting XI: Proto; Gillet, Mazuch, Juhasz, Deschacht; De Sutter, Kouyate, Kanu, Boussoufa; Lukaku, Suarez

Hamburg

Guy Demel returns to the squad after missing the first leg due to suspension. Paolo Guerrero is back training again, but he won’t be ready to take to the field on Thursday. Otherwise, HSV boast a healthy squad.

Probable Starting XI: Rost; Boateng, Rozehnal, Mathijsen, Aogo; Jarolim, Rincon; Trochowski, Ze Roberto, Elia; Van Nistelrooy

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Anderlecht

Jonathan Legear has been les Mauves et Blancs’ outstanding player during their Europa League run. The offensive midfielder, who has six goals and three assists, is very likely to miss out, which means the contribution from the likes of Mbark Boussoufa, who missed the first leg due to injury, will have to increase dramatically if the Belgians are to stand any chance.

Hamburg

Ruud van Nistelrooy made his first start for HSV against Anderlecht last Thursday and, fittingly, the Dutch striker marked his bow with a goal. He wasn’t especially involved in the overall pattern of the match, but the former Real Madrid man’s talents lie in putting the ball in the net even when he’s barely been involved. A prolific scorer throughout his career, this will be a game he will relish.

PREDICTION

After easing to victory in the first leg, there should be little stopping HSV progressing this time around. They would appear to have players of a higher quality than their hosts all over the park and should have few troubles moving into the quarter finals. Thursday’s match may be tight, but that’s largely because the hard work’s already been done.

Anderlecht 1-1 Hamburg



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