West Ham United begin their Europa League campaign against Backa Topola at the London Stadium on Thursday night.

The Hammers are playing their first continental match since winning the Europa Conference League, while the visitors are playing their first-ever group-stage European encounter.

When the final whistle blew in Prague in June, West Ham’s triumph over Fiorentina in the Europa Conference League final signalled the start of many exciting developments.

One of them was proving to be a more appealing alternative for new players, and David Moyes has adequately improved his team to the point where the Premier League outfit is capable of winning this competition.

That has been demonstrated in their first five domestic games, with West Ham taking 10 points from a potential 15 and only losing to Manchester City after leading at halftime.

The disappointment of that game will have remained for Moyes and his team, but the Scot will be looking forward to returning to Europe for the third season in a row.

West Ham went through their whole European campaign in 2022-23 without losing a single game, even when Moyes decided to rotate his players.

Backa Topola are well aware that they have been thrown into the deep end, with James Ward-Prowse hitting the ground running in midfield and Mohammed Kudus aiming to make an immediate impact in attack.

Losing 7-1 on aggregate to Braga in the Champions League third qualifying round was demoralising, despite the fact that it was likely expected, but the Serbian club was aware that they would be relegated to the second-tier competition.

Despite their brief appearance in Europe’s most prestigious competition, FK TSC are one of the Europa League’s underdogs, having never advanced to the main stages.

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