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Europa League - West Ham United: Potential 3rd round qualifier opponents

Article by George Camp

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So, West Ham drew Inverness Caledonian Thistle or Astra Giurgiu in the 3rd round qualifier of the Europa, let’s take a look at the Hammer’s next potential opponents, should we progress.

Inverness Caledonian Thistle

West Ham fans will of course be aware of whom they are but, what threat actually are they to our European hopes?

They finished 3rd in the Scottish Premiership, 10 points behind second place Aberdeen and 27 points behind Scottish Champions Celtic. On their route to third they beat Celtic at home and then again in the semi-final of the Scottish Cup on route to lifting the trophy after beating Falkirk 2-1 at Hampden Park.

By finishing 3rd they enter the Europa League in the 2nd Qualifying round, Astra Giurgiu being their first competitive game this season.

A player to look out for is Greg Tansey, who scored 8 goals last season. Greg signed for the Scottish club in January 2014 from what is now Teddy Sheringham’s Stevenage FC.

Astra Giurgiu

A Romanian professional football club from Giurgiu, Romania. They are currently playing in the country's top league, Liga I. The 2013–14 season was the most successful season in the club's history, reaching 2nd place in Liga I, losing the title by only five points to Steaua București and winning the Romanian Cup on penalties against the same team, Steaua. One month later they defeated Steaua București on penalties again, and won the Romanian Supercup.

Their last Campaign saw them finishing 4th, normally meaning they would qualify for the 1st qualifying round of the Europa League. However, CFR Cluj, the third placed team of the 2014-15 Liga I, would have qualified for the 2nd Qualifying round, but were banned by UEFA for unpaid payments. As a result, Astra Giurgiu, the fourth Placed team, entered the 2nd qualifying round instead of the 1st, while the 1st qualifying round berth was given to Botoșani, the 8th placed team in the league due to Petrolul Ploiești, CS U Craiova and Dinamo Bucureșt the, 5th, 6th and 7th placed teams failing to obtain UEFA licences.

The player to look out for is club captain Constantin Budescu, who bagged 10 goals last season in 28 appearances. He joined Astra Giurgiu in 2011 and has since averaged a goal every three games.

Astra Giurgiu lost their first game of their domestic season 5-1 to Tirgu Mures Constantin Budescu scoring Astra’s goal.

West Ham fans - who would you prefer your side to face? Let us know below!

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