After finishing third in the Division One table in 1985/86, West Ham United should have been packing their suitcases the following season for European football.

Instead, due to the UEFA ban on English clubs competing in continental competition following the Heysel Stadium disaster at the 1985 European Cup final between Liverpool and Italian side Juventus, the Hammers missed out on their chance to test themselves against Europe's elite for the first time in six seasons.

John Lyall's side did not go completely without facing foreign opposition, however, taking part in the FC Groningen Tournament in Netherlands in the lead-up to the 1986/87 campaign. There, the Hammers took on East German side Dynamo Dresden in the semi-finals.

WATCH SG DYNAMO DRESDEN V WEST HAM UNITED LIVE TONIGHT!

Dresden - who West Ham take on in Germany tonight at 7.30pm UK time live on West Ham TV - had won six East German league titles, six East German Cups and would go on to reach the UEFA Cup semi-finals in 1988/89.

West Ham travelled to Groningen by plane and coach, landing at Amsterdam's Schipol Airport on Thursday 7 August 1986 before completing their journey to the northern Dutch town with a 100-mile drive.

The following day, the Hammers took on Dynamo at Groningen's Oosterpark Stadion, but not before goalkeeper Phil Parkes had been presented with a bouquet of flowers by the opposition to mark his 36th birthday!

Whil Dresden may not have won a trophy or even qualified for European football themselves in 1985/86, the East Germans still possessed plenty of quality and senior internationals in their ranks, including long-serving midfielder Andreas Trautmann and future stars of the unified Germany side in sweeper Matthias Sammer and striker Ulf Kirsten.

Trautmann, who had played for East Germany at the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow, winning a silver medal, had been a first-team player for Dynamo since 1977. In that period, he had won a league title and three East German Cups, and would go on to collect two more league winner's medals in 1989 and 1990.

Sammer and Kirsten were younger than their illustrious team-mate, but their potential had already been noted on both sides of the Iron Curtain.

After making his debut in 1985, Dresden-born Sammer spent five years with Dynamo before moving to VfB Stuttgart following the reunification of Germany in 1990. Amazingly, he won the East German title with Dynamo before lifting the unified Bundesliga title with both VfB Stuttgart and Borussia Dortmund.

Capped 23 times by East Germany - scoring the country's last-ever international goal - and 51 times by Germany, Sammer's crowning moment came in 1997, when he helped Dortmund to win the UEFA Champions League. Voted European Footballer of the Year for 1996, the 43-year-old is now technical director of the German Football Association.

Short and stocky, Kirsten made his Dynamo debut in 1983, going on to score 57 goals in 154 matches for the club. Later, during 13 seasons with Bayer Leverkusen, he finished as the Bundesliga's top scorer on three occasions.

A regular for both East Germany and later the unified side, the Riesa-born forward earned 100 caps in total, scoring 35 times and appearing at two FIFA World Cup finals and UEFA Euro 2000 at the age of 34.

Back in August 1986, Sammer was 18 and Kirsten 20, while Trautmann was the club's undoubted star. West Ham's own young gun, Tony Cottee, had just turned 21 and celebrated his birthday by firing the Hammers into an early lead from close-range after 14 minutes.

It took just four minutes for Trautmann to show just why he was so highly rated as he took control of the ball before ruining Parkes' birthday by slamming an unstoppable 30-yard strike into the top corner.

The scoring was completed before half-time by Cottee's regular partner in crime, Frank McAvennie. The striker's fellow Scot Ray Stewart created the winning goal, with the right-back's free-kick punched into his path, allowing him to sweep the ball into the net from 12 yards.

West Ham TV