West Ham head into the lion's den and a Europa League date with Olympiacos on Thursday evening, but manager David Moyes has suggested that his players need to “embrace the challenge.”
At present, the Hammers are on an epic record-breaking unbeaten run in Europe but they're credentials are sure to really be put to the test during the encounter at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium.
It's believed that visiting fans will all be escorted to and from the ground for fear of crowd trouble, evidencing just what a white hot atmosphere there'll be come kick-off.
“It's always tough coming to Athens and Olympiacos will be a tough game. They are always in Europe and they've got lots of experience,” he said in his pre-match press conference, cited by Vavel.
“You have to embrace the challenge and enjoy it. As a football man, you want big atmospheres. They've got great support here, fantastic enthusiasm, and it's fantastic to come to a football city.”
A win would virtually guarantee West Ham's passage into the knockout rounds, given that they'd only need one more point from their remaining three games to be mathematically certain of qualification.
It's perhaps with that in mind that the visitors will likely take the game to their hosts, embracing their challenge just as they manager has requested.
Of the remaining games that they have left, the trip to Athens is arguably the most difficult.
Olympiacos may be bottom of the Group A table, but it's worth noting that they've only lost one game out of the 13 that they've played this season, (14 if you count the game against Panathinaikos which was suspended at 1-1), to Freiburg earlier in the competition.
They're top of the Greek Super League by two points and with a game in hand, so if West Ham are to emerge with at least a point, Moyes will need his players at their very best.
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