Europa Conference League: AZ (1) v (2) West Ham United – Football Oranje
AZ Alkmaar will need to come from behind to reach the Europa Conference League final. West Ham visits the AFAS Stadion on Thursday with a 2-1 lead.
Last week in London, Tijjani Reijnders fired AZ in front but West Ham rallied in the second half and goals from Said Benrahma and Michail Antonio gave the Premier League side a slender win.
Now the two sides meet again in Alkmaar with a place in the final against either Basel or Fiorentina up for grabs.
AZ goes into the game on the back of a confidence-building 5-1 win over Emmen, while West Ham lost 2-0 against Brentford.
AZ have been boosted by the return of Jesper Karlsson and Dani De Wit, while Milos Kerkez also comes back from suspension.
Bruno Martins Indi is still injured but AZ are near full strength for the second leg and that is a major boost for Pascal Jansen.
Possible AZ line-up: Ryan, Sugawara, Kerkez, Hatzidiakos, Beukema, Reijnders, Clasie, Mijnans, Karlsson, Odgaard, Pavlidis
Vladimir Coufal and Gianluca Scamacca are out for West Ham, who made seven changes for the league defeat at the weekend. Antonio is set to be included despite a calf issue.
Possible West Ham line-up: Areola; Kehrer, Zouma, Aguerd, Cresswell; Soucek, Rice; Bowen, Paqueta, Benrahma; Antonio
AZ Alkmaar 8/5 Draw 12/5 West Ham 163/100
Can AZ turn it around and reach the final?
AZ Alkmaar will be disappointed that they let the lead slip last week but they still have a great chance of reaching the final. The return of Karlsson is a huge bonus and he could be the one to add some extra quality to the AZ attack.
It could be a cagey affair and nerves will be present but AZ needs to go all out against the English side from the start and the fans will likely create a great atmosphere.
If AZ can score early then that could be huge for their chances of progression but they must keep it tight at the back as West Ham can counter and are stronger from set pieces.
A final would be a great achievement for AZ Alkmaar and Thursday could be a night to remember for the club.