Fulham journey had final lorry hurdle

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A major traffic jam was the latest in a long line of hurdles that Roy Hodgson's Fulham had to overcome before completing their 27-hour road trip to Hamburg for tonight's Europa League semi-final.

The Fulham boss must have thought he was due some good luck after volcanic ash meant the team had to make the 600-mile trip by road.

As both of the team's luxury coaches departed their hotel in the Westphalian city of Munster, where they stayed on Tuesday night, a lorry had jack-knifed on the Autobahn, causing the coaches to remain at a standstill for three hours. The team's physio session was delayed because of the traffic jam, but Hodgson was nonetheless upbeat ahead of the match.

"We were on the road for 17 hours from leaving Motspur Park (where Fulham train) to arriving at the Hyatt (hotel) in Hamburg," Hodgson said.

"Three hours of that was standing in a queue thanks to a traffic accident on the Autobahn.

"The plan was to arrive here at 1.30pm to have lunch and that would have given us all afternoon for the physio to work with the players.

"Because of the delay, they didn't get to look at them until 5pm, which is a further disadvantage, but that I hope won't hamper us.

"It will be a little bit harder for us. It is not ideal preparation for an important game."

Hamburg coach Bruno Labbadia, however, had little sympathy for the Cottagers as he looks to book a place in the final, which is also being played at the Hamburg Arena.

The German said: "For Fulham it would have been a risk to fly, a risk they couldn't take. It will be the same for us for the (Bundesliga) game against Hoffenheim (this weekend).

"I would say this is part and parcel of the game and you just have to cope with it, to deal with it."

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