Fulham to tame the Wolfs
Fulham's reward for their impressive comeback against Italian giants Juventus is a tough, but winnable, tie against the defending German champions Wolfsburg.
It is, as always, vital for Fulham to get a good result in this first leg and not concede but Wolfsburg's home form in the league this year is so bad that even if this first leg does not go as planned, they should never give up hope of qualifying for the next round (Evens).
Fulham (6/5) are a decent price to win this tie although they have lost all three domestic matches since their 4-1 win over Juventus. Fulham have won their last three home ties in Europe and are pretty much safe in the league so they can concentrate fully on their European adventure.
Wolfsburg (12/5) have picked up more points away from home in the league and considering they won the Bundesliga title last season and were unbeaten at home, their current standing of ninth in the league and seven home defeats is surely a huge disappointment to the fans.
Wolfsburg will come to this match with a draw in mind; in both of their Europa League ties so far they have picked up a draw away and managed to win the tie in their 30,000 capacity Volkswagen Arena.
That's why I think the 11/5 on the draw is worth a bet, and if I was going to bet on a team, I would be covering myself by taking them with the draw no bet.
As Fulham's form is dipping in the league towards the end of the season, Wolfsburg's is picking up. They have lost just once in their last ten matches in all competitions and on the whole have been showing some of the consistency that helped them to the title last season.
When looking at first scorers, it's hard to ignore the in-form striker Bobby Zamora who has 15 goals in all competitions and is the 9/2 favourite to open the scoring.
Also for Fulham, Zoltan Gera has four goals in his last three home European encounters and my money will be going on him to score first and at any time. The prices of 8/1 and 11/4 show the form he has in front of goal and I will be hoping he can continue it.
For Wolfsburg, their main man is the much coveted Edin Dzeko who surely has a great future ahead of him. The 24 year old Bosnian has 16 league goals this season and also has a habit of scoring against English clubs.
Dzeko scored against Portsmouth in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup and in both ties against Man Utd in the 2009/10 Champions League and if Wolfsburg are to score, he will surely be involved. He is 5/1 to score first but I will actually be backing him first and last I think they could get a late away goal.
Roy Hodgson will want to get a cushion to take to Germany for the second leg and will want to avoid taking it right to the wire like they did against Juventus. I think they could edge this leg but a 0-0 draw (17/2) wouldn't be the worst result in the world as Wolfsburg are clearly wobbly on home ground.