Tomorrow’s Europa League quarter final pits two European novices against each other at Craven Cottage. Neither Wolfsburg nor Fulham have reached this stage of a major European competition before and both are easily the most inexperienced of the eight quarter-finalists, even if the Germans have played almost twice as many European games as us.
Researching the game has thrown up some interesting statistics:
- Wolfsburg have faced English opposition three times before. They won one game, defeating Portsmouth in last year’s UEFA Cup but lost the return at Fratton Park and were beaten 3-1 by Manchester United in this season’s Champions League.
- Edin Džeko likes playing English sides, though. He scored in all three matches.
- Fulham’s remarkable second-leg comeback against Juventus also meant we preserved a proud unbeaten European home record that stretches back some fourteen games to 2002.
- Fulham have won their last three European home games (CSKA Sofia, Shakhtar and Juventus).
- Wolfsburg have drawn both away games since being eliminated from the Champions’ League but their only European away win this term was an impressive 3-0 success at Besiktas.
- Fulham have committed more fouls than any side left in the competition (149). Their four red cards are the joint-highest, with Spanish side Valencia.
- Fulham are more threatening in the first half, scoring ten goals before the break. The Whites are particularly deadly just before half-time, with five of our 16 strikes arriving between the 31st and 45th minutes.
- Grafite tops Wolfsburg’s European scoring chart with six goals – three each in the Champions’ League and the Europa League. But Džeko is just behind him on five.
- Zoltán Gera (five) and Bobby Zamora (four) have scored more than half of Fulham’s European goals.
- Perhaps unsurprisingly, given some of the refereeing we’ve seen, Zamora has been penalised more often than any other player: 35 times.
- Roy Hodgson won both of his home games against Bundesliga sides, but lost all three of his games in Germany. His Inter side were beaten on penalties by Schalke in the 1997 UEFA Cup final.
- Mark Schwarzer, whose parents are German, played for Dynamo Dresden and Kaiserslautern before moving to England.