With the exception of the odd outburst from ever-eccentric chairman Mohamed Al-Fayed, Fulham have always conducted themselves with an old-fashioned dignity during their 11-year stay in the Premier League, so it is no surprise that their pre-season preparations are following suit.
While other Premier League teams travel the globe in order to enhance their ‘brand’ (what a horrible thing football has become), good old traditional Fulham are content to make the relatively short trip to Germany for a quick tour that is at odds with the so-called big clubs’ greed for worldwide exposure.
It is typical of this most quaint of football clubs and the Cottagers are already well into their summer programme.
Martin Jol’s troops have been in Germany for the best part of a week, having played out a goalless draw against Danish side HB Køge on Sunday, and will be looking to kick on as they play the second of three tour matches against Lokomotive Leipzig on Wednesday evening as the Premier League kick off looms large.
I don’t see limited Leipzig having enough to trouble Fulham and having kept a clean sheet against a much better team on Sunday, Jol’s team can do so again this evening.
Fulham are understandably favourites with bwin to beat their lowly opponents, with the Whites priced up at 7/25 odds-on shots. The draw is 15/4, with the hosts quoted at a chunky 15/2.
Lokomotive Leipzig have a proud history, but have fallen on tough times. Loksche have won the Bundesliga in their time and will no doubt remember their ’70s and ’80s heyday, where Leipzig were a regular on the European scene, losing the 1987 Cup Winners Cup final to Johan Cryuff’s Ajax.
Those glory days seem a long way away now, with the club languishing in the fifth tier of German football after being declared bankrupt in 2004. Under normal circumstances, you wouldn’t give them a chance against a Premier League outfit, but at this stage of pre-season there is no point in getting involved in the 7/25, even if Fulham are obviously the vastly superior side.
Make no mistake, the Cottagers should win. While Clint Demspey’s future remains up in the air amid reports of strong interest from Liverpool, Jol has few injury problems and fielded two completely different starting elevens in each half of the draw against HB Køge.
The first, full of youth and fringe players, was replaced by regular first teamers for the second period for their opening workout of the season and even if Jol adopts a similar policy against the Germans, it is hard to see Fulham not emerging victorious.
Still, nobody is going to back 7/25 on a friendly so instead have a go on the 91/100 that both teams don’t score. I don’t see limited Leipzig having enough to trouble Fulham and having kept a clean sheet against a much better team on Sunday, Jol’s team can do so again this evening.
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