Squad fitness and preparation is on West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic’s mind as the season is only weeks away from kicking off. In the first of two legs, of what has become to be known as the Betway Cup, West Ham will face off against German side Werder Bremen. Why two legs? Slaven Bilic had this to say to the team website:
Playing back-to-back matches in Germany will ensure that the squad can work together at the same level for the vast majority of the time that we are there
How To Watch
If you’re in the UK, count yourself lucky as the match will be shown live on Premier Sports. Kickoff is scheduled for 5:25 BST today, Friday, July 28th.
Of course, our Twitter will be covering the match as it takes place.
Courtesy of whufc.com:
Werder Bremen: Pavlenka, Zetterer, Drobny, Caldriola, Bauer, Augustinsson, Moisander, Garcia, Gebre Selassie, Sane, Delaney, Kainz, Gondorf, Johansson, Veljkovic, Hajrovic, Junuzovic, Bartels, Petsos, Yatabare, Eggestein, Bargfrede, Johannsson, Kruse, Zhang, Eggestein
West Ham United: Adrian, Hart, Anang, Matrevics, Byram, Zabaleta, Cresswell, Masuaku, Collins, Ogbonna, Fonte, Reid, Burke, Rice, Makasi, Lanzini, Snodgrass, Obiang, Noble, Fernandes, Cullen, Holland, Arnautovic, Ayew, Martinez
The two sides have already agreed to a 60-30 split where the first 11 will receive an hour of match time, following by 30 minutes for subs. Those 30 minute subs will then receive 60 minutes in match two on Saturday.
Injuries will keep Michail Antonio and Andy Carroll out, which is no surprise as they are in England. Manuel Lanzini will be sitting out as well with a recent knee injury which isn’t deemed as serious. New Hammer Chicharito will not be making it in time to join the squad, but it is also assumed that he is still resting up from playing with Mexico in this summer’s Confederations Cup. However, he did join the team in training today and West Ham’s social media team went super saiyan.
Also if you haven’t heard the new Chicharito anthem, you haven’t been living:
Mark Arnautovic will make his first appearance for West Ham United. Surely, he is still gaining his bearings and learning the styles of his new teammates but it will be interesting to see what kind of contribution will be made right from the start. Marko spent three seasons with Werder Bremen where he amassed 16 goals. I’m sure he’s itching to make a splash against his former alma mater.
The last Betway Cup between these two teams took place in 2015, where Werder Bremen bounced back from a rare Diafra Sakho goal, winning the friendly 2-1.
It’s a preseason friendly with prearranged substitutions. However, there are two things I’ll be looking for:
Youth Play - I want to see Josh Cullen, Nathan Holland, Toni Martinez, and the other kids. I imagine both ‘squads’ will sprinkle veterans with the youth - but I’m looking for improvements from the last friendly. We criticized Slaven heavily over the course of last season for ignoring his youth players, so here’s to hoping they impress.
Marko Arnautovic - I’m not looking for goals here, but rather, just would like to see how well the team communicates with him inserted into the lineup. There are bound to be growing pains but it will certainly be interesting to follow.