[EUROPA LEAGUE] Seventeen hours on the bus didn't stop Fulham from achieving what it set out to do as the visiting Cottagers held Hamburg to a 0-0 tie Thursday in the first leg of their Europe League semifinal series. American Clint Dempsey, who came on in the second half for his first appearance for Fulham in 18 days, is confident the Cottagers can get the job done in next week's second leg.
Goalie Mark Schwarzer was the Fulham star, stopping Jonathan Pitroipa, Piotr Trochowski and David Jarolim in the second half.
Like Barcelona and Lyon in the Champions League and Liverpool in the Europa League, Fulham had to travel by bus to their away game because of the disruption in air travel across Europe caused by the Icelandic volcano.
Fulham was the only visiting semifinalists that didn't lose. Liverpool fell at Atletico Madrid, 1-0, on Thursday.
Fulham's 600-mile journey to Hamburg included a three-hour delay in traffic on a German freeway.
“We’re happy with the result tonight and the next leg’s back at home so we’re in a good position to get the job done next week," Dempsey told fulhamfc.com. "Personally, I felt good tonight. I felt sharp and I thought I made a difference tonight.
Given the Cottagers' good record at home, Dempsey believes can win next week's game and return to Hamburg for the final on May 22.
“It would be great for Fulham and great for the players to reach the final," Dempsey added. "We’re so close to the final and we’ll be doing everything to make sure we’re there.”
April 22 in Hamburg
Hamburg 0 Fulham 0.
Hamburg -- Rost, Demel (Rincon, 82), Boateng, Mathijsen, Aogo, Trochowski, Ze Roberto, Jarolim, Pitroipa, Van Nistelrooy, Guerrero (Petric, 72).
Fulham -- Schwarzer; Baird, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky, Duff, Etuhu, Murphy, Davies, Gera, Zamora (Dempsey, 52).
Referee: Claus Bo Larsen (Denmark).