Ruud eyes Europa League glory

BY foxsports • March 31, 2010

Ruud van Nistelrooy has his sights set on winning the first European title of his career with Hamburg in the Europa League this season.

The Bundesliga side take on Standard Liege at the HSV Arena in the first leg of their quarter-final tie on Thursday night as they look to salvage a season which is rapidly turning into a disappointment.

Hamburg have won just one of their last six games in the league to slip to sixth and put the pressure on boss Bruno Labbadia, but Van Nistelrooy is hoping the season can still finish with a trophy.

"I have still not won any international titles in my career," the veteran Dutchman, who never tasted Champions League glory during his time with Manchester United and Real Madrid, said in the Hamburger Morgenpost.

"The semi-finals of the Champions League with Manchester in 2002 was my best result.

"There are only eight teams left in the competition. They will be fantastic games. It would be super if we were to win the final."

Van Nistelrooy, a January signing from Madrid, admits Hamburg will have it far from all their own way against Standard, though.

The visitors saw off Greek giants Panathinaikos in the last round, while Hamburg scrapped past another Belgian side, Anderlecht, 6-5 on aggregate.

"I have great respect for Liege," he added. "They have had good performances in the Champions League and in the Europa League this season. For us it will be just as tough as against Anderlecht. I expect a great game."

Van Nistelrooy stormed off the pitch after being substituted in the weekend defeat to Borussia Monchengladbach, clearly not happy to be replaced just after the hour mark, but claims everything is fine.

"I have no problems," he added. "We lost, that is all. To still be talking about a substitution days later and to get angry about it is rubbish."

Standard are well down the Jupiler League table this term, lying eighth in the 16-team table.

They will be without captain Steven Defour, who has missed much of the season through injury, but the midfielder, who recently signed a two-year contract extension, should be back for the second leg.

Hamburg will be without Marcell Jansen with an ankle injury, but there is better news regarding Dennis Aogo and Jerome Boateng who are back in training after missing Monday's session.