West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce is eagerly anticipating Friday night's marquee pre-season fixture with Dynamo Dresden.
The Hammers will take on the 2. Fußball-Bundesliga side in front of a capacity 32,000 fans at Dynamo's Glucksgas Stadion, with tickets for the game selling out within five days of going on sale. Indeed, there has been a real buzz about the city since the Hammers' arrival and when Big Sam spoke to the German media on Thursday, there was clearly a lot of interest in their visitors from east London.
Allardyce is likely to pick a strong side for the clash with the likes of Winston Reid, George McCartney, Mark Noble and Carlton Cole returning to the starting XI following the convincing 3-0 against FC Rot-Weiss Erfurt on Thursday. It remains to be seen whether captain Kevin Nolan will figure as he seeks to return to fitness following the badly bruised toe he suffered at Colchester Untied.
Are you looking forward to the game?
SA: "It's a pleasure to be here. I'd like to thank everyone for their hospitality and for the way we've been looked after. We're looking forward to the game as part of our preparation for being back in the Barclays Premier League in England. The quality of our opponents means the game will be very tough for us as we're near the start of pre-season, but this type of game is something we're very, very excited about.
"If it's a sell-out crowd than that's even better as it helps the atmosphere and the intensity of the game."
How much of a test will the game provide?
SA: "We're just a little concerned about the heat. The temperature has risen to a quite demanding level. As we're in the middle of our pre-season I'd hope we'd play most of our first-team players for at least 75 minutes. Hopefully some will play 90 minutes and give a good account of themselves. As the season doesn't start until the 18 August, this will be our most competitive match of the pre-season so it will be interesting to see the levels of fitness compared to Dresden with their season starting next week.
"The fitness challenge with our players, both in terms of the temperature and the opposition, will be good. Tactically, we'll wait to see how both teams line up and we'll go from there."
What are the main differences between English and German football?
SA: "Personally I don't see a lot of differences. The competitive nature of the Bundesliga and the Premier League make them both very attractive worldwide. Both of the football is very similar but the systems in the Premier League are a different kettle of fish.
"There are many managers who are devising systems for how they want to challenge themselves in the Premier League because you don't play against a team that played the same way as it did 15 years ago. There are many different shapes and even one team has moved to a back three. It's a big challenge tactically when you come across so many systems in the Premier League now."
West Ham TV also caught up with Dynamo Dresden manager Ralf Loose to get his thoughts on Friday's big encounter. The former Liechtenstein manager led his side to a 0-0 draw with Barclays Premier League champions Manchester City in July but will undoubtedly be looking to go one better against the Hammers.
Loose said: "It's a great night for us. We've got loyal fans and it will be a big moment. When the promoters were thinking about which team to pick, they thought about getting a big attractive club in. That fact, combined with our loyal fans means we should be in for a special occasion tonight."
To see Loose's interview in full and for exclusive big match build up throughout Friday, log on to West Ham TV now.
Sam Allardyce and Ralf Loose were presented
with a special gift from the tournament organisers