As the West Ham squad finishes one of their shortest ever summer breaks, tonight’s match with FC Lusitans will be a good opportunity for James Tomkins and co to dust away those still-fresh cobwebs.
Also online: West Ham beat FC Lusitans 3-0 in comfortable win
But what of their little-known opponents? Here is the Wharf’s guide to FC Lusitans.
1. They did rather well last season.
The club plays in the Andorran Premier Division, finishing second last season, which guaranteed them a place in the Europa League qualifiers.
2. They are a young club.
Lusitans were only founded in 1999, a massive 95 years after West Ham. The Stat fans among you may be aware that this was the last time the Hammers scored in Europe, when Marc-Vivien Foé netted the third against Croatians FC Osijek in a 3-1 win.
3. Andorra is tiny - really tiny.
Andorra’s population is just 85,000, so it should come as no surprise that Lusitans are hardly packing them in for home games. With a capacity of just 1,000, the Camp de Futbol d’Aixovall is among the smallest league grounds in Europe.
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4. They have more recent experience in Europe than West Ham...
But the minnows can at least lay claim to playing more European football than the Hammers recently – their last venture in continental competition coming in 2013’s Champions League qualifiers when they lost 7-3 on aggregate to Faroese side EB. For the Irons’ last European match you have to go all the way back to 2006, when Alan Pardew’s side lost 4-0 on aggregate to Italians Palermo, despite having both Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tevez in the team.
5. ...but they do get beaten a lot.
Experience is where the boasting ends for Lusitans who are prone to getting good hidings. The club has lost all of its ties since its first foray into European competition in 2010, scoring just four goals and conceding 33.
6. They have a former Barcelona striker
That said, one player the Hammers' backline should keep an eye on is Sierra-Leonian forward Alfi Conteh-Lacalle. Once on the books of Barcelona, the 30-year-old netted nine goals in 10 matches last season.