Sunday, March 29, 2009

Manchester City’s European dream to end at Hamburg

Some would suggest that Manchester City were lucky to even qualify for the Uefa Cup this season after a penalty shoot-out victory over FC Midtjylland in the final qualifying round of this seasons competition. Well after sneaking through against Aalborg on Thursday night thanks to another spot kicks victory there can be no doubt that Mark Hughes' side are riding their luck.
 
Some betting companies are making Manchester City favourites to win the Uefa Cup  but after another poor display in the last-16 and a tough draw against Hamburg I feel City will be fortunate to make it past the quarter-finals. For those of you who missed the game at the Energi Nord Arena, Aalborg scored two goals in the last five minutes of the game to take it to extra-time after knocking at the door of City’s defence for much of the second half.
 
However the Danish side came unstuck on penalties and Hughes’ side somehow secured their passage through to the next round, but the draw for the quarter-finals has paired City with Hamburg who look to be dark horses to win the tournament after coming through against Galatasaray in the last round. Martin Jol’s side are enjoying a good season in the Bundesliga, sitting four points off top spot.
 
They have also already beaten English opposition in this seasons competition after over coming Aston Villa 2-0 in the group stages. Despite Villa putting out a much changed side for that game Hamburg looked good and are formidable at home this season. The German side have lost just once at home all season in the league and with City’s poor away form showing no signs of improving this tie could all be over by the time they travel to Manchester for the second leg.
 
Despite City’s array of talent they seem unable to come together as a team and with the likes of Robinho and Elano looking uninterested at this moment in time for me their can only be one winner of this quarter-final tie. As for the eventual Uefa Cup winners my pick has to go to Werder Bremen after their victory over AC Milan the German side look like they could be on a roll which could carry them all the to Istanbul.

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