West Ham United are hoping to reach what would be a landmark European final for the club as they face AZ Alkmaar in the first leg of their Europa Conference League semi-final.
West Ham reached the semi-final of the Europa Conference League by beating Gent 5-2 on aggregate after battering the Belgian side 4-1 in the second leg of their quarterfinal matchup following a 1-1 first leg draw away from home.
It's been a tough season for West Ham on the whole with the East Londoners a shell of the side that reached the Europa League semi-final while maintaining themselves as a force in the Premier League last season.
The Hammers have spent the majority of this season battling relegation in the Premier League even though their form in Europe has remained remarkably unaffected, but they appear to now be peaking at the right time as they enter this game off the back of a 1-0 win over Manchester United last time out.
West Ham have had a tough run of fixtures since beating Bournemouth 4-0 away from home but the win over Man Utd means they're now seven points clear of relegation with just three games remaining and therefore almost certainly safe.
As a result all of their focus can now rest on this tie as they eye a first European trophy since 1965 - discounting the Intertoto Cup.
They have a huge chance to win this competition and this may well be the toughest draw they could have got, but the London Stadium will be rocking on Thursday night and David Moyes' side need a win.
AZ Alkmaar reached the semi-final of the Europa Conference League by beating Anderlecht on penalties in the quarterfinal following a 2-2 draw on aggregate, with both sides winning their respective home matches.
AZ have had a solid season in the Netherlands as they find themselves 4th in the league table, just two points behind Ajax in 3rd.
They've claimed some impressive scalps in Europe this season, most notably beating Lazio in both legs of the last 16, so they'll be a formidable test for West Ham no doubt.
They enter this game in good form having won three and drawn one of their last four games, the most recent of which was a 0-0 draw away at Ajax.
Their away form has been mixed on the whole having won two, drawn one and lost two of their last five games on the road.
This is a very evenly matches tie and one that is tough to predict; The Hammers have more firepower but the Dutch side likely consider themselves a more fluid unit, so be prepared for both legs to throw up tight and potentially nervy encounters.
For our West Ham vs. AZ Alkmaar prediction, we're going for a 2-1 win for the home side.
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