Eintracht FrankfurtEuropa LeagueVS
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The Europa League semi-finals are upon us and both sides taking part in this tie defied the odds to make it past tricky opponents in the last-eight stage.
It was close, but West Ham were slight underdogs heading into their quarter-final second leg at Lyon, but the Hammers stunned the French faithful with a brilliant performance to win 3-0 and confirm their place in the semis.
But nevertheless, it was Frankfurt who wrote the biggest headlines on the night, winning away at Barcelona to leave them on the cusp of a first European final since 1980.
It’s a similarly long wait for a West Ham final at this level, so read on for our full match preview and expert football betting tips for what is a huge clash.
Straight off the bat, this looks like a particularly close game to call.
Both sides came through the previous round with impressive results, so confidence should be high in both camps, while the recent domestic form of both sides suggests it’ll be difficult for either team to get some significant punches in.
Let’s start with the hosts, whose only home defeat in 2022 came against Leeds United in the Premier League, during an eleven-game stretch in which they haven’t lost in their eight most recent engagements. In the past few weeks in Europe they’ve beaten Sevilla on home soil and picked up a valuable draw against Lyon, despite playing much of the latter with ten men.
Frankfurt may be having a forgettable season domestically, but their away form has been decent. It’s just two Eintracht defeats in eleven on the road, while their Europa League away record is unblemished, with four wins from five, including victories at high-flying Spanish duo Real Betis and Barcelona.
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David Moyes’ side are still very much in the mix for a top-six spot in the Premier League, but with a Champions League place on offer for the winner of the Europa League, we’re expecting the Londoners to put most of their eggs into this particular basket.
It’s just two Premier League defeats at home since October, so they’re in good nick in the capital, but could this occasion get the better of them?
That, of course, remains to be seen, but one thing you can say for this West Ham side is that they can mix it up when they need to. Against Lyon they spent large periods of time without the ball and made the most of their counterattacks, but they may need to take a more progressive route if they want to take a numerical advantage to Frankfurt in May.
While West Ham are effectively juggling their league and European commitments, Eintracht have struggled to strike a balance between the two this season.
Their home form, in particular, has been shocking. Frankfurt currently sit 16th out of 18 Bundesliga teams when it comes to home results, while they’ve won just one of five games on home soil in this competition, drawing all the others.
But while home comforts have been hard to come by, their away record is much better. Oliver Glasner’s side are unbeaten in this competition away from home and are scoring plenty of goals along the way. With their home form firmly in mind, they’ll be particularly keen to get a result at the London Stadium this Thursday.
These two have a small sprinkling of history, having faced other over two legs in the European Cup Winners Cup semi-finals in 1976.
The London Stadium was originally built for the London 2012 Olympics, before West Ham moved in shortly after.
That move sparked controversy amongst Hammers fans who didn’t want to leave previous home Upton Park, but they’re slowly and surely making the stadium a fortress.