After back-to-back away games in the last week, West Ham United return to Stratford tonight looking to avoid defeat against German outfit SC Freiburg and win UEFA Europa League Group A.
David Moyes’ side will be desperate to bounce back after the 5-0 defeat at Fulham four days ago and secure an automatic pathway to the knockout stage of the competition.
SC Freiburg looked like they would be in pole position ahead of this game, thanks to a 5-0 win over Olympiacos. That was of course until Tomáš Souček’s late winner against Serbian side FK TSC Bačka Topola, which meant that the Hammers would still be in control of their own destiny after they beat the German club back in October.
If the Irons get another victory here, it will ensure that European football returns to East London in March, meaning they won’t have to play a two-legged play-off round in February and believe me, that will help their already busy schedule!!!
Whoever comes out on the wrong side of things tonight will have suffered their second defeat of the group stage campaign, as West Ham were the only team to beat the Bundesliga side in this competition and they will be determined to do the same again. On the other hand, the visitors will have revenge on their minds!!!
Away supporters will be in attendance tonight but the home side will be doing all they can to achieve their ultimate aim.
Pablo Fornals and Emmerson Palmieri did feature against the Cottagers at the weekend and Moyes will be hoping they are fully fit to be involved again here. Angelo Ogbonna and Saïd Benrahma were both brought on during the second-half in West London and may well earn starts tonight.
Edson Álvarez will have to be assessed, while Konstantinos Mavropanos, Thilo Kehrer, Maxwel Cornet, Aaron Cresswell, Ben Johnson and Danny Ings are all in contention, while Łukasz Fabiański is set to make his third consecutive start in goal.
The match is an 8pm kick-off and live coverage is being screened by TNT Sports from 7:45pm. The referee is João Pinheiro.