West Ham United are concentrating their efforts ahead of the 2009/10 season with a two-week training camp in Austria.
Gianfranco Zola has taken a strong squad to Bad Radkersburg. Following their arrival, the first friendly match saw the Hammers draw 1-1 with local side SVL Flavia Solva in Wagna on Wednesday 15 July before the fixture with German giants Werder Bremen in Bad Waltersdorf on Saturday 18 July was cancelled because of a waterlogged pitch.
West Ham return to Bad Radkersberg to face Turkish outfit Bursaspor on Wednesday 22 July before finishing up on Thursday 23 July with the potential of a short trip across the border to the Slovenian town of Murska Sobota to take on ND Mura 05. Please note that any changes to fixtures and dates will be confirmed as soon as possible via whufc.com.
Zola believes the trip will act as perfect pre-season preparation for his players. "I am looking forward to the pre-season camp and it should be very good for us," he said. "It is an important part of the season and it will be good to get everyone together and preparing in the right way. We are determined to improve next season and this will help us a lot."
The manager and his squad will then return to England ahead of the trip to China for the Barclays Asia Trophy the following week when they will take on Tottenham Hotspur in the semi-finals on Wednesday 29 July. Hull City and Chinese Super League team Beijing Guoan will meet in the other semi-final, with the final being held on Friday 31 July.
Summer training camp opponents
SVL Flavia Solva
SVL Flavia Solva are from Wagna in southern Styria. The club dates back to 1952, although its current incarnation came about when SV Flavia Solva merged with SV Leibnitz in 2003. They play in the third tier of Austrian football and are coached by Tomislav Kocijan, a 41-year-old former striker with SK Sturm Graz.
Last season was a successful one for the red and whites as they earned promotion. Previously, their best-ever league campaign came in 1984/85 when they just missed out on promotion to the Austrian Bundesliga after finishing runners-up. In 1992/93, again as a second-division side, they reached the quarter-finals of the Austrian Cup before losing 2-0 to SK Rapid Vienna.
Werder Bremen enjoyed a successful 2008/09 season, beating Bayer Leverkusen to win the German Cup and reaching the final UEFA Cup final before going down to Ukranians Shakhtar Donetsk.
At domestic level, Werder finished tenth in the Bundesliga under long-serving coach Tomas Schaaf. Bremen's squad contains a host of well-known players including Germany defenders Clemens Fritz and Per Mertesacker, playmaker Torsten Frings and Under-21 star Mesut Ozil, as well as Sweden striker Marcus Rosenberg and Portugal forward Hugo Almeida.
Bursaspor, from the Turkish city of Bursa, finished their 2008/09 campaign sixth in the Turkcell Superlig. Formed in 1963, the club lifted the Turkish Cup in 1986 and has been coached in the past by former West Ham player Ralph Milne and Romania legend Gheorghe Hagi.
Coached by Ibrahim Yazici, Bursaspor's squad is made up almost exclusively of Turkish players, including wonderkid Sercan Yildrim. Bulgaria goalkeeper Dimitar Ivankov, South Korea forward Shin Young-Rok and Brazilian striker Tadeu add international flavour.
ND Mura 05
Coached by Slobodan Djuric, Nogometno Drustvo Mura 05 hail from the Slovenian town of Murska Sobota. The town is situated on the banks of the river Mura in the north west of the country, hence the club's name.
ND Mura 05 was formed in 2005 following the demise of the town's former Slovenian 1.SNL Liga club NK Mura earlier the same year. In their previous guise, Mura lifted the Slovenian Cup in 1995.
Pre-season schedule (including reserves)
Sunday 12 July, 3pm - Grays Athletic 1-2 West Ham United (Hines, Montano)
Wednesday 15 July, 5.30pm (6.30pm local) - SVL Flavia Solva 1-1 West Ham United (Collison) - Wagna, Austria
Saturday 18 July, 5pm (6pm local) - Werder Bremen PP West Ham United (Bad Waltersdorf, Austria)
Saturday 18 July , 3pm - Cambridge United 1-1 West Ham United XI (Abdulla)
Wednesday 22 July, 5pm (6pm local) - Bursaspor v West Ham United (Bad Rakersburg, Austria)
Thursday 23 July, 5pm (6pm local) - ND Mura 05 v West Ham United (Murska Sobota, Slovenia)
Friday 24 July, 7.45pm - Thurrock FC v West Ham United XI
Wednesday 29 July, 6pm (11am London)- West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur (Barclays Asia Trophy, Beijing, China)
Friday 31 July - West Ham United v Hull City/Beijing Guoan (Barclays Asia Trophy, Beijing, China)
Friday 31 July, 7.45pm - Kingstonian v West Ham United XI
Saturday 8 August, 3pm - West Ham United v SSC Napoli (Bobby Moore Cup)