TSC Bačka Topola vs West Ham United recommended bets
TSC Bačka Topola vs West Ham United match preview
Will West Ham United book their place in the Europa League knockout phase, requiring a win in Serbia to ensure they retain first place ahead of the final matchday?
Back in September, TSC stunned the London Stadium into silence, taking the lead soon after half time courtesy of Petar Stanić.
Nevertheless, a quick-fire brace from Mohammed Kudus, followed by a Tomáš Souček header, saw the Hammers claim a 3-1 victory.
Overall, David Moyes’ men have won three out of four in Group A, with their record-breaking unbeaten run in UEFA competitions coming to an end in Piraeus last month.
Nevertheless, a fortnight later, Lucas Paquetá was the only scorer in a hard-fought 1-0 home win over Olympiacos in East London.
Thus, the Irons are top of the group, needing four points from their last two games, hosing Freiburg in two weeks, to remain in first, thereby going straight through to the round of 16.
At thew weekend, West Ham left it late but did, in the end, beat bottom of the table Burnley at Turf Moor, with Divin Mubama provoking an own goal, before Souček won it in stoppage time.
Following back-to-back wins, the Hammers are ninth in the Premier League, with three successive London derbies, Crystal Palace (H), Tottenham (A) and Fulham (A), next on the agenda.
Before then of course, they’ll make this long trip from East London to Eastern Europe, so are TSC Bačka Topola capable of claiming a famous victory?
Well, the succinct answer to that is probably not.
Žarko Lazetić's side have just one point on the board thus far, holding Olympiacos to a 2-2 draw on matchday two, thanks to Miloš Pantović's last-gasp equaliser, most-recently smashed 5-0 by Freiburg in Germany.
TSC ended up second in last season’s Serbian SuperLiga, the highest finish of their 110-year history, so are debuting in a UEFA group stage right now.
To date, they’ve only ever won a solitary European match, beating Petrocub Hîncești in a Europa League first qualifying round tie three years ago, smashed 7-1 by Braga in this season’s Champions League qualifiers.
They will though be buoyant, after hammering league-leaders Partizan Belgrade 4-0 on Saturday, although TSC do remain 11 points adrift first place, as well as eight points below serial champions Crvena zvezda.
Here, at the rather modest setting that is TSC Aréna, which holds just 4,500 spectators, West Ham are likely to claim the three points they need.
TSC Bačka Topola team news
Žarko Lazetić certainly doesn’t have many familiar faces in his ranks; top-scorer Ifet Đakovac is on five, one of which came in the home draw with Olympiacos.
Veljko Ilić will continue to get the nod over Nikola Simić in goal who, between them, have conceded 20 goals in six European matches so far this season.
Right-back Jovan Vlalukin would sit out the matchday six trip to Greece if booked.
West Ham United team news
The Hammers travel to Serbia without Michail Antonio or Jarrod Bowen, leaving them rather short of attacking options.
Danny Ings led the line against his former club on Saturday but was largely ineffective, so could youngster Divin Mubama be in from the start this time?
Pablo Fornals, Saïd Benrahma or Maxwel Cornet are other options, although Hammers fans will be hoping to see Mohammed Kudus, who opened his account for the club when TSC visited the London Stadium.
Any number of Thilo Kehrer, Angelo Ogbonna, Konstantinos Mavropanos or Aaron Cresswell could be rotated into defence, while Łukasz Fabiański will once again be donning the gloves in this competition.
Edson Álvarez meantime is one booking away from a ban.