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Thoughts on Hamburg

Since the draw was made yesterday, concensus opinion has been that drawing Hamburg was as bad a draw as we could have been handed, eroding some of the 'name on the cup' feeling that eminated in the aftermath of the penalty shoot-out.

I'm not so sure though. Whilst Hamburg are undoubted a tough proposition, there were worse draws out there. My knowledge of the Bundesliga is not great, with my information generally being garnered from Rafael Honigstein's updates on the Football Weekly podcast.

Having listened to it over the course season, it seems there is a general feeling that Hamburg have perhaps overachieved during this campaign. They currently lie in fourth place in what is a very tight and competitive Bundesliga - all of this after losing Rafael van der Vaart and Vincent Kompany in the summer, and then Nigel de Jong in January. From Honigstein's comments in a recent episode, it is felt they could be running out of steam at the wrong team, or from our own perspective, at exactly the right time.

Their home record is impressive though on all levels, in contrast to an average away record (although better than our domestic one) and I do feel that whilst playing away first is to our advantage, the first leg match in Hamburg will likely determine the outcome of this tie.