Our prediction for this Europa League match:
Olympic Stadium in London will host Thursday’s Europa League game between West Ham United and Genk, the two teams who meet for the first time ever in the competition. The Hammers aim to keep their 100% record in Group H intact, and they are likely to go all guns blazing at the Belgians. Despite failing to find the net in Sunday’s 1-0 win at Everton, Michail Antonio should continue to lead the line for the Premier League side.
Both Coufal and Fredericks are sidelined with injuries. Genk, on the other hand, aim to bounce back from a heavy 3-0 loss to Dinamo Zagreb. The Jupiler League side are eyeing their second win of the process, but seeing that West Ham United are a real force to be reckoned with at home, the underdogs are unlikely to grab something from the match.
Highlighted Player (Winston Reid):
Despite playing for Denmark youth teams in the past, Winston Reid decided to represent New Zealand at senior level. The prolific defender spent his youth career at Danish clubs Sonderborg and Midtjylland and he made his first appearance for the Midtjylland first team in the Royal League tournament against Valerenga. Winston Reid was making progress year by year and he was on West Ham’s radar during the 2009/2010 season.
In the summer of 2010 (August) Reid signed a three-year deal with the Hammers and he made his Premier League debut in a 3-0 defeat to Aston Villa on August 14, 2010. However, the New Zealand defender made no more than 12 appearances for West Ham United in his first season for the capital club.
To make things even worse for him, at the end of the 2010/2011 Premier League campaign the Hammers dropped to the Championship. You should bear in mind that Winston Reid played three games for New Zealand at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa and he scored a late equalizer in a 1-1 draw with Slovakia.
Highlighted Team (Genk):
Founded in 1988, Genk are considered one of the youngest clubs in Belgium. Luminus Arena is the home stadium of the club, the capacity of the venue is 24 956 and it was built in 1999. Speaking of UEFA matches, the stadium can hold 21 500 spectators.
Genk clinched one Belgian Pro League trophy in the 20th century, with the team winning the 1989/1999 title. They finished the season with 73 points, two points clear of second-placed Club Brugge. Genk won their second domestic trophy in 2002 and the team lifted the Belgian Pro League title in 2011 as well. Speaking of the Belgian Cup, the club clinched their fourth trophy in the competition in 2013.
The club is well known for their brilliant school and you should bear in mind that the likes of Steven Defour, Christian Benteke, Thibaut Courtois, Divock Origi and Kevin De Bruyne are all products of Genk’s football academy.