MALAGA CF v WEST HAM UNITED
SCHALKE 04 CUP
VELTINS-ARENA, GELSENKIRCHEN, GERMANY
SUNDAY 3 AUGUST 2014
KICK-OFF: 3.30PM CEST (2.30PM BST)
West Ham United play their penultimate pre-season match on Sunday in the Schalke 04 Cup, a four-team tournament involving the Hammers, German Bundesliga hosts FC Schalke 04, Spanish Primera Division side Malaga and Barclays Premier League rivalsNewcastle United. West Ham will not play the Magpies, but face two continental tests in as many days as they aim for some summer silverware.
Having drawn their opening pre-season matches at Stevenage (2-2) and Ipswich Town (0-0), West Ham suffered two losses during the Football United Tour of New Zealand, as they came up short against Wellington Phoenix (1-2) and Sydney FC (1-3).
So, with another week of training at Chadwell Heath under their belts, the Londoners will be hoping for more productive results in western Germany this weekend.
Malaga will present West Ham with their second and final test at the Veltins-Arena in Gelsenkirchen. The Anchovies finished eleventh in La Liga last season, having reached the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals in 2012/13.
The Schalke Cup will be covered live and exclusively on Quest TV this weekend. Quest is a free to air channel and can be found on: Freeview 37 (+138) Sky 167 (+1 195) and Virgin Media 172 (+1 173).
Who are they?
Malaga CF was formed in 1904 and has played 33 seasons in Spain's top flight.
Arguably the Anchovies' best period has been since the turn of the 21st century, winning the UEFA Intertoto Cup in 2002 - the club's first major trophy.
A favourite of the many British expatriates living on the Costa del Sol on Spain's southern coast, Malaga reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Europa League in 2003 and the last-eight of the UEFA Champions League two years ago.
In between, Malaga were relegated to the Segunda Division in 2006, spending two years in the second tier before gaining promotion in 2008.
The last few seasons have been something of a rollercoaster for Malaga, with UEFA Champions League qualification and success followed by financial issues and an exodus of big-name players and manager Manuel Pellegrini to Manchester City leading to a downturn in fortunes last term.
That said, Malaga retain a talented and cosmopolitan squad and the club's fans - Spanish and English - will hope for an upturn in fortunes in 2014/15.
The Hammers will field most of their squad across the two matches of the Schalke Cup, and new loan arrival Carl Jenkinson could be involved after completing his move from Arsenal on Thursday. However, Andy Carroll is absent after undergoing surgery on an ankle injury.
Cheikh Kouyate took a bang to his leg in a challenge in New Zealand, while James Tomkins (groin), Guy Demel (groin) and Leo Chambers (hamstring) will also hope to be fit to take on Los Boquerones.
One to watch
Guillermo Ochoa became arguably the world's best-known goalkeeper when his heroics helped Mexico to reach the Round of 16 at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
Capped more than 60 times by his country, Ochoa has spent the past three seasons in French football with Corsican side Ajaccio.
Blessed with quick reactions, amazing agility and an outrageous hairstyle, the 29-year-old former America star will hope to make his mark in the Primera Division after completing his move to Malaga on Friday.
West Ham United
With six new players arriving at the Boleyn Ground this summer, the existing squad members have been somewhat overlooked in recent weeks.
However, recent birthday boy Stewart Downing has started the pre-season in superb form and will hope to celebrate turning 30 by producing an outstanding second season in a West Ham shirt.
The England winger scored at Stevenage and came within inches of doing so again against Wellington Phoenix in New Zealand. With pace, two good feet and pedigree at the highest level, the stage is set for Downing to steal the show in 2014/15.
Tickets are still available for the Schalke Cup and can be purchased on Sunday at the Veltins-Arena from "cash box WEST" at €32 Adults and €10 Under-12s. These tickets cover both matches played on that day.
For supporters in possession of a match ticket, these tickets also act as a VRR-Kombiticket ticket.
This entitles supporters to travel, free of charge on the day in question, to and from the Veltins-Arena using the Regional Transport Networks Rhine-Ruhr (VRR) until closing time of the services.
This applies to all of the VRR transport and commuter trains of Deutsche Bahn in 2nd class (but not ICE, IC, EC and IR).
If travelling by car, directions to the Veltins-Arena can be found here.
The forecast for Sunday in Gelsenkirchen is for a cloudy day and maximum daytime temperatures of 23C (74F). However, the Veltins-Arena has a roof and, if this is closed, the weather and outside temperature will be irrelevant!
West Ham United have never met Malaga CF previously.