Westham prepared for match battle against German club

Born and raised only a hundred miles from SC Freiburg, Thilo Kehrer is fully aware of what West Ham United can anticipate in tonight’s UEFA Europa League match in his native country.

Looking ahead to the challenging trip for the Hammers to the Europa-Park Stadion, the 27-time German international defender explains, “I grew up not very far from here.”

Due to the club’s academy system and the fact that many of its players come from the surrounding area, SC Freiburg has a distinct identity and discipline.A few years ago, Freiburg appeared content to simply remain in the top league, but today they consistently compete for the top spots in the Bundesliga and are beginning to succeed in Europe.

They’ve always been a side that has been focused on being organized for the actual games before them, so I don’t think that they’re going to adjust their game-plan for the match against us even though they may have a big game against Bayern Munich coming up at the weekend.

The Hammers’ encounter against the team currently eighth in Germany’s top division appears to be the toughest of their six Group A matches, but Kehrer is optimistic that David Moyes’ team will extend their incredible 16-match unbeaten streak in Europe.

The winner of the UEFA Europa League Conference in June, who relocated to the East End from Paris Saint-Germain at the end of last season, says, “We have wonderful memories from last year and it’s always a really unique honour to play in Europe.

“This is one of the most balanced squads that I’ve ever been involved in and everyone is aware of the competition.

“I will always try to give my best with every minute that I get on the pitch because I want this team to continue to be successful.

“Each player has his own qualities and when they get their opportunity, too, they are also try to bring them into the team to help us all profit.

“We have a very special group here at this football club.

“Over the past two years, we have also shown that this is a club that always looks to take its group games seriously.”

The 27-year-old has made 43 appearances for West Ham since his £10million move from the French capital, but this will be the first without the backing of the vociferous travelling Claret & Blue army, who are banned by UEFA from attending tonight’s game.

It’s sad that they cannot attend this game because “we love our fans and we love having them there supporting us at our games because it gives you little extra boost,” he explains. But since we’re experts, we’ll need to adjust and just try to complete the task without them.

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