West Ham United face SC Freiburg tonight in their second UEFA Europa League Group A encounter. We all know what happened when the club last made the journey to Germany, so here’s hoping that it ends with a positive outcome this time around.
On the plus side, the Hammers can’t suffer the same fate this time around but nevertheless, they won’t want to drop points as they are looking to once again go straight through to the knockout stage by winning their group. They are currently top after coming from behind in their home match against Serbian club FK TSC Bačka Topola to beat them 3-1.
SC Freiburg are second on goal-difference after a 3-2 triumph against Greek side Olympiacos, so this is already looking like a key contest for David Moyes’ men.
Both sides also come into this game off the back of domestic victories with the hosts overcoming FC Augsburg 2-0 on Sunday, while it was fair to say that the Irons didn’t have to break sweat in their match at home to newly-promoted Sheffield United a day earlier.
Having one extra day’s preparation ahead of this match may give the visitors a slight edge but, who knows?
Due to an incident in last season’s UEFA Europa Conference League final, the ever-loyal West Ham fan base had been ordered to stay away from the Stadium.
After Edson Álvarez missed the first game of the campaign due to suspension, the midfielder is one of the players who is likely to retain his place from the team that took on the Blades five days ago and if he does, he will be making his European debut for the club.
Mohammed Kudus, Saïd Benrahma, Pablo Fornals and Konstantinos Mavropanos all came off the bench at the weekend and could all be involved again here.
Łukasz Fabiański, Angelo Ogbonna and Maxwel Cornet are all set to be part of David Moyes’ rotation policy.
Thilo Kehrer was alongside Moyes when he spoke to the assembled media on Wednesday but, as with Tomáš Souček in the opening match, it doesn’t always mean that the particular player will feature from the start.
James Ward-Prowse may be rested ahead of Newcastle United’s visit to Stratford on Sunday.
Moyes did reveal on Wednesday that Michail Antonio had suffered a muscle injury last time out and won’t be taking part, meaning Danny Ings will get a rare start.
The match is a 5:45pm kick-off with live coverage being screened by TNT Sports from 5pm. The referee is Mohammed Al-Hakim.