West Ham United fans are excited about going on a European tour next season.
The Hammers have qualified for the Europa League group stages for the first time after finishing sixth with a record Premier League points haul.
David Moyes’s side agonisingly ended the season just one solitary win off fourth place and a Champions League spot.
Europa League qualification is still a massive achievement for West Ham and Moyes, though.
And it is a competition the club can excel in with the right approach and a beefed up squad.
West Ham learned their fixtures for the new season on Wednesday.
And as most fans will know by now at least six of them will be moved to accommodate West Ham playing the group stage fixtures on Thursday nights.
There is some light relief on the fixture front in that there will be one less game for the Hammers to play in the Carabao Cup as Moyes’s side – like the other teams in Europe – do not enter until the third round.
Here are the games that will be moved back as a result of playing in the Europa League next season:
Manchester United (H) – Sept 18th
Brentford (H) – Oct 2nd
Tottenham (H) – Oct 23rd
Liverpool (H) – Nov 6th
Man City (A) – Nov 27th
Burnley (A) – Dec 11th
West Ham have got lucky in that they are playing at home after four of the six European games.
That will mean back-to-back home games on three occasions. But the other three will come after trips abroad on the Thursday.
They will undoubtedly prove the most difficult fixtures given the added demands. That always seems to be the case for teams playing in Europe on Thursday nights.
But who West Ham will be playing and where they will be travelling to on three of those six dates will not be known until after the season has started.
That’s because the Europa League group stage draw will be made on August 27th. It is then West Ham will find out which three teams they have been paired with in the 32-team Europa League group stage.
The first Europa League fixture then takes place on September 16th.
Below is a list of teams already qualified for the group stage who West Ham could potentially face.
Real Sociedad, Real Betis, Eintracht Frankfurt, Bayer Leverkusen, Napoli, Lazio, Lyon, Marseille, Braga and Lokomotiv Moscow.