West Ham and Hertha Berlin face each other in Austria on Wednesday evening with the new season less than two weeks away for both sides.
This will be the first meeting between the teams and the Bundesliga outfit come into the match with their unbeaten pre-season record still in tact. In contrast, the Hammers suffered defeat twice during the Premier League Asia Trophy as they lost to Manchester City and Newcastle United in China.
Ante Covic is set to embark on his first season in charge at the Olympiastadion, having previously managed Hertha’s second team and has added Eduard Lowen, Daishawn Redan, Marko Grujic and Dedryck Boyata to his squad already this summer.
However, he will be without Julian Albrecht in Ritzing as the teenage central midfielder is sidelined with an ankle injury.
There are no injury concerns for Manuel Pellegrini, though, and he will have his full squad at his disposal, including new signings Pablo Fornals and Sebastien Haller who made their debuts against Fulham at the weekend.
With the season fast approaching, both sides have begun to name stronger sides for their friendlies as both managers look to cement their ideal team selection and playing style.
New signing Redan is likely to be utilised off the bench again by Covic after the former Chelsea youngster scored the opener on debut against Fenerbahce.
Pellegrini has so far exhibited both a 4-1-4-1 and 4-2-3-1 formation during the off-season and the formation he uses on Wednesday will likely determine who starts out of Jack Wilshere and Manuel Lanzini.
Hertha Berlin: Jarstein; Klunter, Stark, Rekik, Mittelstdadt; Maier, Grujic; Leckie, Duda, Dilrosun; Selke
West Ham United: Fabianksi; Fredericks, Diop, Balbuena, Cresswell; Rice; Yarmolenko, Fornals, Lanzini, Anderson; Haller
Key clash - Haller v Stark/Rekik
Whilst Haller is an imposing figure in attack, with his 6’3” frame towering over most opponents, the likely centre-back pairing of Niklas Stark and Karim Rekik have the ability to match him physically and this could make for an exciting tussle.
Despite bagging 33 goals and assisting 19 for his teammates whilst at Frankfurt, Haller failed to achieve either against Hertha during his two seasons in Germany, but will be looking to have more luck for his new employers against the club from the German capital.
What they said
After sitting out most of his first season in East London through injury, Wilshere has enjoyed a return to action during the summer and he recognises the importance of this fixture.
“It’s about the last little bits before the Premier League starts so this is a good game for us to work on a few things tactically and implement them into games” the ex-Arsenal man told WHUFC.com.