West Ham United host Lyon in the first
leg of their Europa League quarter-final on Thursday with the Hammers' run in
continental competition bringing back memories of the club's halcyon days.
They have not seen a European quarter-final in the east end of London since
1981, when second-division West Ham lost to eventual winners Dinamo Tbilisi
in the last eight of the Cup Winners Cup.
Their best years came before that, with Bobby Moore captaining the team to
victory in the 1965 Cup Winners Cup and a side featuring Frank Lampard senior
reaching the final of the same tournament in 1976.
On that occasion they lost to a brilliant Anderlecht team, but returning to
another European final is now the dream, almost half a century later.
After ousting record six-time winners Sevilla in the last round, a meeting
with Lyon will hold no fears for David Moyes's men, who are sixth in the
"It's very exciting. I've been here a long time and seen the lows of
relegation battles to being in the quarter-final of the Europa League," Aaron
Cresswell told the club's website.
"That's what we want as a club, we want progression and as players we want
to play in those competitions against the best players in the world. It's
Lyon have a fantastic recent pedigree in Europe, reaching the Champions
League semi-finals in 2020 and the last four of the Europa League in 2017.
They knocked out Porto in the last round, but it is hard to know what the
true face of Peter Bosz's side is just now -- they lie in mid-table in Ligue
Lyon are missing gifted midfielder Maxence Caqueret due to injury but
anything is possible for them if the likes of Lucas Paqueta and Houssem Aouar
perform to the best of their ability.
- Resurgent Barcelona -
Whoever wins that tie -- the second leg will be played next week -- will
face Eintracht Frankfurt or a resurgent Barcelona in the semi-finals.
The Catalans must now be seen as the favourites to win the Europa League as
they head to Germany on a run of 13 games unbeaten.
Opponents Eintracht sit mid-table in the Bundesliga but they have beaten
Bayern Munich this season and knocked out another Spanish side in the last
round, ending the prospects of Betis reaching the final in Seville.
Germany is the only country with two teams left in the Europa League, as RB
Leipzig host Atalanta in the first leg.
Leipzig's form since Domenico Tedesco became coach in December has been
superb and they come into this tie fresh from thumping Borussia Dortmund 4-1
at the weekend. In contrast Atalanta have slipped out of the top-four race in
Rangers head to Portugal to play Braga looking to bounce back after their
home loss to Celtic on Sunday dealt a potentially fatal blow to their
Scottish title hopes.
They knocked Braga out of the Europa League two years ago but Carlos
Carvalhal's team beat Monaco in the last round and are fresh from a 3-2 win
over Benfica last weekend.
The clash between Leicester City and PSV Eindhoven is the pick of the ties
in the quarter-finals of the Europa Conference League.
The Foxes want more silverware after winning last season's FA Cup but PSV
are eyeing a first continental title since lifting the European Cup in 1988.
"Leicester will be the most formidable team we have played this season,"
said PSV coach Roger Schmidt.
PSV's fellow former European Cup winners, Feyenoord and Marseille, host
Slavia Prague and PAOK, while Roma return to Norway to renew acquaintances
Jose Mourinho's side lost 6-1 away to the same opponents in the group
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)