West Ham United's first European semi-final in 46 years brings them a reunion with Eintracht Frankfurt, the last team they encountered at this stage of a UEFA competition, as the teams from England and Germany, both group winners during the autumn, vie for a place in the 2021/22 UEFA Europa League final.
• West Ham, making their debut in the UEFA Europa League proper, were comfortable winners of Group H, clinching top spot with a game to spare on 13 points – three more than runners-up Dinamo Zagreb. They then staged an eye-catching extra-time comeback triumph against the competition's serial winners Sevilla in the round of 16 (0-1 a, 2-0 h) before seeing off Lyon (1-1 h, 3-0 a) in the last eight, Jarrod Bowen scoring in both games.
• Eintracht came unbeaten through UEFA Europa League D, topping the section with 12 points ahead of Olympiacos, Fenerbahçe and Antwerp to qualify directly for the round of 16, where they eliminated Real Betis thanks to an own goal in the last minute of extra time (2-1 a, 1-1 h). They then claimed another Spanish scalp in the quarter-final, knocking out Barcelona with a famous 3-2 victory in the Camp Nou – courtesy of two Filip Kostić goals and a spectacular Rafael Borré strike – following another 1-1 draw in Frankfurt.
• The clubs' only previous UEFA encounters – and West Ham's most recent against German opposition – were in the 1975/76 European Cup Winners' Cup semi-final, Frankfurt winning the first leg 2-1 at home before the East London side came back to take the tie with a 3-1 victory at Upton Park, Trevor Brooking scoring twice. The Hammers would go on to lose the final, 4-2 to Anderlecht in Brussels.
• Ten years earlier West Ham had played another European Cup Winners' Cup semi-final against German opposition, losing both legs (1-2 h, 1-3 a) to eventual winners Borussia Dortmund. The Hammers were the holders, having lifted the trophy the season before with a 2-0 victory in the Wembley final against another German club, 1860 München.
• Eintracht's last European semi-final was against West Ham's city rivals Chelsea in the 2018/19 UEFA Europa League, a tie they lost on penalties at Stamford Bridge after two 1-1 draws to make it four defeats out of four against English clubs in two-legged UEFA knockout ties. Their most recent encounters with Premier League opposition were against Arsenal in the 2019/20 UEFA Europa League group stage, when they lost 0-3 at home on Matchday 1 but won the return 2-1 with a Daichi Kamada double, their first away win in five visits to England (D1 L3).
• A sixth-placed finish in the 2020/21 Premier League earned West Ham a first appearance in the group stage of a UEFA competition. In each of their last two continental campaigns, in 2015/16 and 2016/17, they were eliminated in the UEFA Europa League qualifying phase by Romanian club Astra Giurgiu.
• Having won the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1964/65, West Ham would reach the semi-finals, final and quarter-finals of that same competition over the next 16 years. The furthest they had gone in the UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League before this season was the second round in 1999/2000. Their semi-final record in UEFA competition – all in the European Cup Winners' Cup – is W2 L1, a 1964/65 victory over Real Zaragoza (2-1 h, 1-1 a) preceding those two Anglo-German ties.
• This season David Moyes' side won their first three Group H matches without conceding – 2-0 away to Dinamo, 2-0 at home to Rapid Wien and 3-0 at home to Genk. They then dropped their first points in a 2-2 draw away to the Belgian side before wrapping up top spot with a 2-0 win in Vienna and losing their last game 0-1 at home to Dinamo. The aggregate wins against Sevilla and Lyon have made them the first club to reach the UEFA Europa League semi-finals in their debut campaign since Arsenal in 2017/18.
• The recent draw against Lyon – in which they played the entire second half with ten men – means West Ham's European record at the London Stadium is now W4 D1 L2, the four victories having all come with clean sheets. The club's overall home record in Europe is now W20 D4 L6.
• Having been absent from Europe in 2020/21, Eintracht returned for a third UEFA Europa League group stage campaign in four seasons – and fourth in all – thanks to their fifth-placed finish in the Bundesliga. Last summer they replaced coach Adi Hütter with another Austrian, Oliver Glasner, who was in charge of fourth-placed Wolfsburg last term.
• Eintracht have now qualified for the UEFA Europa League knockout phase on all of their four group stage appearances, notably reaching the semi-finals in 2018/19, when they were denied a place in the final only by that penalty shoot-out defeat against eventual winners Chelsea. They won all six of their group games that season – the only German club ever to achieve the feat – but managed just three this term, two against Olympiacos (3-1 h, 2-1 a) and one against Antwerp (1-0 a), in addition to three draws – 2-2 at home to Antwerp and 1-1 in both games against Fenerbahçe.
• Frankfurt are participating in the UEFA Europa League semi-finals for the second time. That defeat three years ago by Chelsea made Eintracht's all-time record in UEFA semi-finals W2 L2, their last victory having been against Bayern München (0-2 a, 5-1 h) in the 1979/80 UEFA Cup, which they went on to win, beating another Bundesliga club, Borussia Mönchengladbach, on away goals in the final (2-3 a, 1-0 h).
• The recent victories in Spain against Betis and Barcelona are two of only three in Eintracht's nine away fixtures in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase, although they have lost just two – at Benfica (2-4 in the 2018/19 quarter-final) and Basel (0-1 in the 2019/20 round of 16). With four wins and a draw on their European travels this season, the German club's all-time away record in the competition proper is now W12 D5 L4.
Links and trivia
• Ukrainian forward Andriy Yarmolenko joined West Ham from Borussia Dortmund, where he spent 2017/18 in the company of Frankfurt midfielder Sebastian Rode, though the latter played no Bundesliga games in that campaign.
• Opposing goalkeepers Alphonse Areola (West Ham) and Kevin Trapp (Frankfurt) were team-mates and rivals at Paris Saint-Germain in 2016/17 and 2017/18.
• Nikola Vlašić (West Ham) and Kristijan Jakić (Eintracht) are fellow Croatian internationals.
• Eintracht's Austrian international defender Martin Hinteregger played his 50th match in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final, in the second leg against Barcelona, becoming the 23rd player to reach that milestone.
• West Ham were one of just two newcomers to the UEFA Europa League group stage in 2021/22, along with Danish champions Brøndby. Mid-term arrivals Barcelona made it three debutants in this season's competition proper.
• Frankfurt are the only club taking part in this season's UEFA Europa League semi-finals to have previously lifted the trophy, in their case in its former guise as the UEFA Cup (1980).
• Germany are the only country with more than one club in the semi-finals – Frankfurt and Leipzig. It is the first season in which two Bundesliga sides have appeared in the last four of the UEFA Europa League. No German team has ever reached the UEFA Europa league final.
• West Ham's victory over Lyon means an English club is represented in the UEFA Europa League semi-finals for the seventh season in a row, whereas Barcelona's elimination by Frankfurt ended Spain's record run of successive semi-final representations at eight.
• West Ham are the tenth debutants in the UEFA Europa League proper to have reached the semi-finals. Three teams have gone on to win the competition on their maiden appearance, the most recent another London club, Chelsea, in 2012/13.