West Ham United are through to a major European quarter-final for the second straight season after completing a 6-0 UEFA Europa Conference League round of 16 aggregate victory over Cypriot opponents AEK Larnaca on Thursday evening.
The Irons have been to the last-eight of European competitions on five previous occasions and progressed to the semi-finals four times, including last season's run to the UEFA Europa League last-four.
The east Londoners overcame Lausanne of Switzerland and 1. FC Magdeburg of East Germany in the European Cup Winners' Cup quarter-finals in 1964/65 and 1965/66 respectively, and FC Den Haag of the Netherlands in the last-eight of the same tournament in 1975/76.
Dinamo Tbilisi of the Soviet Union ended that perfect record in the quarter-finals of the Cup Winners' Cup in 1980/81, but the Irons made it four wins from five at that stage by defeating Olympique Lyonnais of France in the Europa League a year ago.
The draws for the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final of the 2022/23 UEFA Europa Conference League will be held on Friday afternoon, so here is some essential background information...
So, how does the tournament work from now on?
It is now a straight two-legged knockout competition with no seedings, meaning West Ham can draw any of the seven other clubs in the quarter-finals.
The Irons will play the first and second legs of their last-eight tie on Thursday 13 and 20 April respectively, barring any city clashes which can see fixtures moved.
Ties level after 180 minutes will go to extra time irrespective of the number of goals each team has scored at home and away. If the teams still cannot be separated after the additional 30 minutes, the tie goes to a penalty shootout.
The eight teams will now be whittled down to two, who will contest the final at Prague’s Eden Aréna on 7 June 2023. It is the most modern stadium in Czechia and the home of Slavia Prague.
The ground is no stranger to hosting major club and international level matches and was the venue for the 2013 UEFA Super Cup thriller between Bayern Munich and Chelsea, the German club winning 5-4 on penalties following a 2-2 draw.
When will the quarter and semi-final draw take place?
The draws for the UEFA Europa Conference League quarter-finals and semi-finals will both take place at the House of European Football in Nyon, Switzerland, on Friday 17 March 2023. The draw is scheduled to start at 1pm GMT (2pm CET).
Sporting director Mark Noble and Club secretary Andrew Pincher will represent the Club at the draw.
How can I follow the draw?
We will be blogging the draw on whufc.com and our app, and also providing live updates on our social media channels.
You can also watch a live stream via the UEFA website here.
How will the draw work?
As was the case with the Europa League at this stage a year ago, the quarter and semi-final draws will take place one after the other, meaning clubs will know their prospective last-four opponents before contesting their last-eight ties.
It will be a 'free' draw, meaning West Ham United can face any one of their their seven remaining UEFA Europa Conference League rivals in the quarter-finals.
The quarter-final ties will be number 1-4 for the semi-final draw which follows. A draw will also be made to determine the 'home' team in the final for administrative reasons.
So, who could we play against?
The seven other clubs in the UECL quarter-final draw are:
AZ Alkmaar (NED)
Lech Poznań (POL)
Can you tell me more about the seven other clubs in the draw?
Yes, here is a guide to the seven other clubs in the draw and how they made it to the quarter-finals...
Anderlecht (BEL) - The Belgians defeated Paide Linnameeskond of Estonia and Young Boys of Switzerland to reach Group B, where they were defeated twice by West Ham United but gathered enough points elsewhere to edge out Silkeborg or Denmark and FCSB Romania. The Brussels side then defeated Ludogorets Razgrad of Bulgaria in the knockout play-offs, before scoring an impressive come-from-behind win over Spanish favourites Villarreal in the round of 16.
AZ Alkmaar (NED) - The Dutch title chasers have been in the UECL throughout, defeating Tuzla City of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dundee United of Scotland and Gil Vicente of Portugal in the qualifiers, then romping through Group E with wins over Dnipro-1 of Ukraine, Apollon Limassol of Cyprus and Vaduz of Leichtenstein. Pascal Jansen's team continued their fine run by defeating Lazio of Italy 4-2 on aggregate in the round of 16.
Basel (SUI) - The Swiss side defeated Crusaders of Northern Ireland, Brøndby of Denmark and CSKA Sofia of Bulgaria in the qualifying rounds. They then edged through as runners-up in Group H with a matchday six win over Pyunik of Armenia. A second leg away win, then saw off Trabzonspor of Turkey in the knockout play-off round. Basel then came through a rollercoaster round of 16 tie with Slovan Bratislava of Slovakia to win on penalties and reach their sixth major European quarter-final.
Fiorentina (ITA) - The Serie A side snuck past Twente of the Netherlands 2-1 on aggregate in the play-off round, then finished second in Group A behind İstanbul Başakşehir of Turkey and ahead of Heart of Midlothian of Scotland and RFS of Latvia. The Italians then thumped Braga of Portugal 7-2 on aggregate in the knockout play-off round. Vincenzo Italiano's side's fine recent form continued with a round of 16 victory over Sivasspor of Turkey.
Gent (BEL) - The Belgians recovered from a 4-0 aggregate defeat by Cypriots Omonia Nicosia in the UEL play-off round to defeat Molde of Norway and Shamrock Rovers of the Republic at home on their way to finishing second in UECL Group F behind Djurgårdens of Sweden. They were then too strong for Qarabag of Azerbaijan in the knockout play-off round, and then despatched İstanbul Başakşehir of Turkey in the round of 16 thanks to the goals of young Nigerian striker Gift Orban.
Lech Poznań (POL) - Lech Poznań’s European journey started back in July 2022, when they were beaten 5-2 on aggregate by Qarabag of Azerbaijan in the UCL first qualifying round to drop into UECL qualifying. There, they defeated Dinamo Batumi of Georgia, Víkingur of Iceland and Dudelange of Luxembourg to reach the group stage. After finishing second in Group C behind Villarreal, they edged out Bodø/Glimt 1-0 on aggregate in the knockout round play-offs, then comfortably beat Djurgårdens of Sweden in the round of 16. The Poles have played 18 ties in total to reach this stage!
Nice (FRA) - Nice needed extra-time to edge past Maccabi Tel Aviv of Israel in the UECL play-off round. In Group D, they won just twice, at Czech side Slovácko and home to Partizan of Serbia, but topped the table with nine points to reach the round of 16. The French Ligue 1 side showed a more ruthless side there, defeating FC Sheriff of Moldova home and away.
When will our quarter-final ties take place?
The first leg will be held on Thursday 13 April and the second a week later on Thursday 20 April, although we will not know if we are home or away first until after the draw is made.
Venues, kick-off times and ticket information for both ties will be confirmed in due course.
Without getting ahead of ourselves, when will the later rounds be played?
11 & 18 May 2023: Semi-finals
7 June 2023: Final (Eden Aréna, Prague, Czechia)