UEFA Europa League field complete

  • West Ham United to enter UEFA Europa League at third qualifying round stage
  • Hammers will be among 29 seeded sides in the draw to be made on 15 July
  • Slaven Bilic's side have qualified for Europe for the second successive season
The field for the 2016/17 UEFA Europa League is now complete!

West Ham United will enter the competition for the second successive season, but this time around the Hammers have a little longer to wait until they learn their opponents.

Slaven Bilic’s side, who finished seventh in the Barclays Premier League last term, will enter the Europa League at the third qualifying round stage, joining 57 other clubs from across Europe.

Those clubs with the highest coefficients are seeded in each of the three qualifying rounds, with winning unseeded teams taking the coefficient of their vanquished opponent in the next round. This is because the draw for the next qualifying round is made prior to the previous round being completed.

However, while the exact nature of West Ham’s opposition will not be revealed until Thursday 15 July, the east Londoners are assured of being seeded due to the Club’s UEFA Team Ranking of 16.256.

This Ranking is calculated by adding together West Ham’s UEFA team coefficient in the last five years, with the Hammers receiving credit for the performances of other English clubs during that period. England are currently ranked third in the UEFA Team Ranking table behind Spain and Germany.
So, who could West Ham face in the third qualifying round come Thursday 28 July?

As things stand before the competition begins, the club with the highest coefficient that the Hammers could be drawn against is Grasshoppers Zurich, who finished fourth in the Swiss Super League and enter the tournament at the second qualifying round stage.

Also among the other recognisable names who could appear in the unseeded half of the draw are AIK Stockholm and IFK Gothenburg of Sweden, AEK Athens of Greece, Brondby IF and Midtjylland – Winston Reid’s former club – Scotland’s Heart of Midlothian and Slavia Prague from the Czech Republic.

However, there are plenty of other well-known clubs looking to upset the seeding system and make it through to tackle the Hammers, including League of Ireland trio Cork City, Shamrock Rovers and St Patrick’s Athletic and Scottish pair Aberdeen and Hibernian.

Welsh sides Bala Town, Llandudno FC and Connah’s Quay and Northern Ireland’s Glenavon, Linfield and Cliftonville also also kick-off their challenges in the first qualifying round.

The rank outsiders are Europa FC of Gibraltar, just behind Folgore of San Marino and Estonia’s Infonet Tallinn.

The two clubs beaten by West Ham last season, Lusitanos of Andorra and Malta’s Birkirkara, are both in the hat for the first qualifying round after finishing second and third in their respective domestic leagues.

The Hammers’ first-ever opponents in European football back in autumn 1964, Belgian club AA Gent, are also seeded entrants to the third qualifying round, while their compatriots and West Ham’s 1976 European Cup Winners’ Cup final opponents Anderlecht will go straight into the group stage.

Dinamo Tbilisi of Georgia, who humbled the Hammers on home turf in the 1980/81 European Cup Winners’ Cup, are potential fourth qualifying round opponents, while 1999 UEFA Cup opponents Steaua Bucharest of Romania are seeded entrants at the same stage.

The 1965 European Cup Winners’ Cup winners, West Ham have played 48 European matches in total, winning 24 and losing 16.