67 years after their European Cup Winners Cup, David Moyes’s West Ham United have the chance to re-write their own European history as they take on ACF Fiorentina in the Europa Conference League Final in Prague, Czech Republic.
The match will be played at the Fortuna Arena, which is home to Slavia Prague.
The Hammers will be contesting in their first Final since the 2006 FA Cup Final, where they lost 3-1 on penalties, after a sensational 3-3 draw. It will also be their first European final since 1976 when they lost 4-2 to Anderlecht in the Cup Winners’ Cup.
The last time the two sides met was in the Anglo-Italian League Cup in 1975, where East Londoners lost 2-0 on aggregate.
Should the East London side win, they will join Liverpool and Brighton&Hove Albion in next season’s Europa League.
They will also receive prize money of €5miilion.
On the other hand, the Serie A side will also be competing in their first European Final in 1990, where they lost 3-1 to Juventus.
It will also be their second final of the season after they were runners-up to Inter Milan in the Coppa Italia after a 2-1 defeat at the Stadio Olimpico, Rome.
The Hammers reached the Final courtesy of a 3-1 victory on aggregate against AZ Alkmaar, while the Italian side secured a 4-3 away goal victory against FC Basel.
David Moyes is happy with his side’s preparations before the big day and is confident that his side will pull out a good performance on Wednesday Night.
‘I’m not sure if you had told anybody that in the last three years we’d have finished sixth and seventh in the Premier League, we’d have got to the semi-final of a European competition and then the year after you’d get to the final of a European competition [they’d have believed you].’
‘So there are a lot of good things going on. We’ve given lots of West Ham supporters lots of good times and long may it continue.’Moyes: WHUFC
Meanwhile, England star Jarrod Bowen tags the Final as the biggest game of his career.
“I’ve played for England, but I think achieving this with your teammates who you’ve been with together to get to a final and you have the opportunity to win a trophy together, it will be a massive moment,”Bowen: BBC Sport
The Hammers ended the 22/23 Premier League Season in 14th place, but they had a bit of a stumble on their road to securing another season in England’s top-flight League, winning just three out of their final eight games of the season, and they would want to end their difficult season on a high, by pulling off a memorable victory in Prague, to give their fans some hope heading into next season.
Thilo Kehrer is also excited about the chance of adding another piece of silverware to his career after his illustrious four-year spell with Paris Saint Germain.
“We feel the support of every one of our fans,” he said, “and are aware of all the people supporting us. “They are behind us, cheering us on and we are very glad about that. We are taking that energy with us.” “We relaxed a bit but it’s also given some time together to regroup,” he said. “We will try to use it as an advantage. “We’ve bonded well this season and we have used the last few days to get even more team spirit. “We have the squad and quality to do it so we’re very confident going into the final.”Kehrer: BBC Sport
The German defender won two Ligue 1 Titles, two Coup de Frances, the Coup de Ligue, and the Trophée des Champions in his time with the French Giants.
Judging by how both teams have finished the season in their perspective Leagues, you would have to say that the side from Florence starts as favourites, so I am going for a 2-1 victory for the Italian side, however, it would be truly special to see if Moyes’s side can pull off an incredible victory.
Can The Hammers pull off a memorable night in Prague and lift the Europa Conference League?
Find out on World in Sport.