UEFA Europa League & Conference League Magazine - Episode 2Sep 29
West Ham and Rangers are facing their biggest fortnight in years as they prepare for momentous Europa League semi-finals against Eintracht Frankfurt and RB Leipzig respectively.
Both clubs have enjoyed electrifying campaigns so far and will be dreaming of reaching next month’s final in Seville.
Read on for match previews and broadcast details for both first legs.
West Ham vs Eintracht Frankfurt: BT Sport 1 HD & Ultimate, 7pm (8pm KO) - Live stream
West Ham produced one of their all-time great performances in Lyon to reach their first European semi-final in 46 years and set up one of their biggest games in decades against German side Eintracht Frankfurt.
It was another statement victory in a campaign that had already seen them top their group and eliminate competition favourites Sevilla.
On a night that will go down in West Ham folklore, the visitors withstood intense early pressure in France before striking three times to silence Groupama Stadium and earn a famous 4-1 aggregate victory.
Former West Ham player and BT Sport pundit Joe Cole was quick to praise manager David Moyes after the win.
“They have a lovely balance between being passionate and keeping cool,” he said. “Moyes can’t do any wrong. He gets it right all the time. He is at his peak as a manager.”
Now many people’s favourites to go on and win the competition, West Ham face Frankfurt, who were also the opposition in the 1976 European Cup Winners’ Cup, their last major European semi-final.
The Germans stunned Barcelona to set up the West Ham clash, racing to a 3-0 lead in the second leg at the Camp Nou and eventually holding out for a 4-3 aggregate win.
Rafael Borre’s superb strike in between goals from Filip Kostic put Oliver Glasner’s side in dreamland in Catalonia to the delight of their almost 30,000 travelling fans.
They are ninth in the Bundesliga and without a league win in five, but are enjoying a sensational European campaign and are capable of upsetting the Irons.
The east Londoners were beaten 1-0 by Chelsea on Sunday and are without defenders Issa Diop, Kurt Zouma and Angelo Ogbonna, leaving Craig Dawson as their only recognised centre-half.
“It’s been a monumental period for us to get the semi-final of a European competition,” said Moyes, whose redemption could end in European glory.
RB Leipzig vs Rangers: BT Sport 2 HD, 7pm (8pm KO) - Live stream
Rangers are three matches away from European immortality after another chaotic and rousing Ibrox night ended in a thrilling quarter-final win over Braga.
They saw off the Portuguese side in yet another pulsating tie after knocking out Borussia Dortmund and Red Star in the previous rounds.
The Scottish champions were toothless in the first leg against Carlos Carvalhal's men, but were utterly dominant in Glasgow and perhaps should have won much more comfortably.
They eventually progressed to their first semi-final of a major European competition since 2008 when Kemar Roofe netted an extra-time winner.
“We are happy we could give the fans a game they were proud of, and to proceed in Europe is huge,” said manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst after the famous win.
They face the daunting task of taking on German side RB Leipzig over two legs in the last four.
Domenico Tedesco’s side were unbeaten in 15 in all competitions before they came unstuck against Union Berlin at the weekend.
They are fourth in the Bundesliga and have one of the hottest forwards in Europe in Christopher Nkunku, who has scored 27 goals and provided 14 assists this season.
They have already eliminated the likes of Real Sociedad and Atalanta from the competition this season, but boss Tedesco is fully aware of the task facing his side in the semi-finals.
“They knocked Borussia Dortmund out over two legs, and when they can eliminate teams of that calibre, you get a sense of the quality Rangers have,” he said.
Rangers are without the talismanic Alfredo Morelos, but have won four consecutive matches without the Colombian, including the second-leg win over Braga and an Old Firm victory in the Scottish Cup.
“To reach the last four in Europe is a major achievement for everyone and we worked hard for it,” said van Bronckhorst ahead of Rangers’ date with destiny.