With a little tournament about to start in Germany it seems an appropriate time to have a look at the more complicated competition that West Ham will be participating in next year.
The first round (proper) of the UEFA cup will be drawn on August 25. It will involve 31 high ranked teams who have been given byes to this stage. It will also involve the winners of the second qualifying matches as well as 16 teams eliminated from the third qualifying round of the Champions League.
The 31 high ranked teams include West Ham, Blackburn Rovers and Tottenham Hotspur from England, but also the likes of Roma, Lazio, Celta Vigo, Feyenoord, Paris Saint-Germain and holders Sevilla. This round is seeded, but it seems unlikely that West Ham will be one of those seeds, because of their low co-efficient and that could mean that they draw one of the highest ranked teams.
If West Ham win their round one game they will then progress to the group stage. They will go into a group of five teams, guaranteeing two home and two away games where the top three will qualify for round three. The 24 qualifiers from the group stage will then be joined by the eight teams who finished third in their Champions League group, and from then it becomes a proper knockout competition.
If West Ham get to the final they will have played 14 games and that will make it a gruelling season for the Hammers.