Jussi Jaaskelainen is looking forward to West Ham United's pre-season tour of Germany, which begun with the Hammers jetting off on Wednesday morning.

The Hammers are due to face three Bundesliga sides in Mainz, Hamburg and Eintracht Braunschweig as their preparations for the 2013/14 campaign step up a notch.

Jaaskelainen has been happy with the progress made in the two-and-a-half weeks of training to date and is sure the time spent away in Germany will strengthen his side at a key stage of pre-season.

He told whufc.com: "We had a game a week earlier than most teams, so I think that's good because that extra week gives you more opportunity to build your training up. We've had a full-on couple of weeks and we just need to get our levels back to a consistent level where we were last season.

"Now we're off to Germany and there will be three big tests over there. Remember they are pre-season games so it's all about preparation for that first game against Cardiff City on 17 August.

"As a keeper, you're trying to get your eye back in with every pre-season game and the training is important to get your shot stopping going, to then transfer that to the games."

Jaaskelainen, last season's Hammer of the Year runner-up, will face extra competition for his place this term in the form of new signing Adrian, and he is expecting a good battle for the spot between the sticks. 

He added: "It's always tough competition at this level, it doesn't matter who is there, but he is a good lad and we're all goalkeepers fighting for that number one place.

"Of course the competition helps you to produce your best form. I've had that [competition] from the very first day that I stepped on to the football pitch and when you have the chance to be in the team you have to grab that with both hands."

Away kit