The Europa League semi-finals get underway this week, with West Ham playing host to Eintracht Frankfurt for their first leg at the London Stadium on Thursday night (8pm kick-off, UK time).
David Moyes has guided the Hammers to the penultimate stage of a major European competition for the first time since 1976 where, the east London club faced Frankfurt nearly 50 years ago, winning 4-3 on aggregate to make the European Cup Winners’ Cup final. Both of these clubs are now just three games away from winning continental silverware and sealing Champions League football.
West Ham vs Frankfurt betting tips from Squawka Bet
- Filip Kostic anytime assist @13/5 with Betfair
- Daichi Kamada to score and match will end in a draw @20/1 with Hollywoodbets
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West Ham team news vs Frankfurt: Moyes faces centre-back crisis
- Outs: Angelo Ogbonna, Issa Diop
- Doubts: Kurt Zouma
West Ham have been hit with a defensive injury crisis at the wrong time (not that there is ever a good time). Moyes had just one fit centre-back for Sunday’s 1-0 defeat to Chelsea in Craig Dawson, so he tweaked his system to a back-three, with Aaron Cresswell and Ben Johnson flanking the no-nonsense defender.
It remains unclear how Moyes will line up on Thursday night. There is a possibility that Johnson could partner Dawson, with Moyes reverting to his tried-and-tested back four, keeping Declan Rice in central midfield. He may also stick with a back-three and match-up with Frankfurt’s system, though the chances are that he will want to play to his side’s strengths and remain loyal to the formation that got him this far.
Despite the focus being firmly fixed on Thursday night, the Rice transfer rumours refuse to go away for the club, particularly after he rejected a renewed contract offer from upstairs. And when asked by one reporter how West Ham could possibly retain his services when Chelsea can’t even keep hold of Antonio Rudiger (who will leave Stamford Bridge at the end of the season), Moyes explained the difference.
“The difference is that he [Rudiger] is out of contract,” said Moyes. “We’ve got three-and-a-half years to go. That is the difference.”
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Predicted West Ham XI vs Frankfurt:
- Areola; Coufal, Johnson, Dawson, Cresswell; Rice, Soucek, Lanzini; Fornals, Bowen, Antonio. (4-3-3)
Frankfurt team news vs West Ham: Two suspended for Eagles
- Outs: Kristijan Jakic, Evan Ndicka, Erik Durm, Stefan Ilsanker, Christopher Lenz, Diant Ramaj
Oliver Glasner has a few issues with his squad to contend with, not least the suspensions of first-teamers Evan Ndicka and Kristijan Jakic. The former picked up a late red in the 3-2 win over Barcelona in the previous round, while the latter collected his third booking of the competition at the Camp Nou, meaning his suspension carries over to this first leg. Elsewhere, Erik Durm and Stefan Ilsanker are illegible, while Christopher Lenz and Diant Ramaj are out with a broken toe and knee injury respectively.
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Predicted Frankfurt XI vs West Ham:
- Trapp; Tuta, Hinteregger, Toure; Knauff, Rode, Hrustic, Kostic; Lindstrom, Kamada, Borre. (3-4-2-1)