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West Ham United’s UEFA Europa League Group H campaign continues on Thursday evening when they welcome Rapid Vienna to east London for our first-ever home game at this stage of the competition.
Having defeated Dinamo Zagreb 2-0 in our European opener two weeks ago, David Moyes will be searching for another three points to put the Hammers in a strong position a third of the way through the group phase.
Since that assignment in Croatia, the Hammers have triumphed against both Manchester United and Leeds United and will be buoyed by those successes on the road when they return in front of their own fans on Thursday.
Rapid were defeated 1-0 by Belgian Cup winners Genk in their first Europa League game, going down to a final minute goal, so know they will need to turn in a performance against the Hammers.
They will also be looking for a vast improvement on their domestic form – a total of eight points from their opening nine league games has left last season’s runners-up eleventh in the twelve-team table.
No club has won the country’s championship more times than Rapid’s 32, while the Green-Whites have won the Austrian Cup on 14 occasions.
Rapid have also reached two European finals and contested well over 200 matches in continental competition since thrashing PSV Eindhoven of the Netherlands in the European Cup first round back in 1955.
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Founded as Erster Wiener Arbeiter-Fußball-Club (First Viennese Workers’ Football Club) in 1897, the club took on its current identity less than two years later, in January 1899.
Rapid lived up to their name by winning Austria’s first-ever national championship in 1911/12, then retained the title the following year.
The club continued to dominate during the inter-war period, winning a hat-trick of championships between 1919-21, including doubles courtesy of their first those 14 Austrian Cup triumphs in 1919 and 1920