How can West Ham can qualify for the Champions League? Hammers eye first appearance in Europe’s top club tournament


West Ham United have seen a resurgence in recent seasons, as the side has transformed from a team languishing in the bottom half of the table to a side capable of securing Champions League football.

This is no small feat either given the strength of the league and the fact they finished 16th in the 2019/20 season. 

Now the Hammers are looking to finish in the top six for the second season running, but have aspirations to finish in the top four to secure qualification to the UEFA Champions League, in what would be an incredible achievement. 

The side could also achieve qualification through winning the Europa League; they face Sevilla in the Last 16 on Thursday night, and it’s clear to see that the club is in a very strong position heading into the final part of the season where Champions League football is certainly not out of reach.

MORE: How many trophies have West Ham won?

Will West Ham qualify for the Champions League?

There are two avenues for West Ham to qualify for the Champions League next season: either by finishing in the top four of the Premier League, or by winning the Europa League title outright.

In the top four in the Premier League for Champions League qualification, the Hammers sit in sixth place but face competition from Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham and Wolves. They’re also in the last 16 of the Europa League, facing six time champions Sevilla on Thursday night.

Top Four

West Ham featured in the top four for the first 17 weeks of the season, but have since seen contrasting fortunes winning only three of their last 10 matches. 

According to FiveThirtyEight, West Ham have only been given a 3% chance of qualifying for the Champions League via the top four spots – whilst DraftKings has them at a (+1800) shot of making the top four. It seems the odds are against the East London club.

The upcoming schedule could leave West Ham to control its own destiny, with both Chelsea and Arsenal on the list. While those would appear to be difficult matches — and they obviously are — the Hammers will see the inclusion of those two clubs as a positive, meaning the club can beat those directly above it to earn its place among the top four, rather than see themselves as powerless to simply hope the clubs drop points elsewhere.

Schedule:

Date Stage Match Time
04/10/22 Match 32 Brentford (A) 9:00 a.m. ET
04/17/22 Match 33 Burnley (H) 9:15 a.m. ET
04/24/22 Match 34 Chelsea (A) 9:00 a.m. ET
05/01/22 Match 35 Arsenal (H) 11:30 a.m. ET
05/07/22 Match 36 Norwich City (A) 10:00 a.m. ET
05/15/22 Match 37 Man City (H) 10:00 a.m. ET
05/22/22 Match 38 Brighton (A) 11:00 a.m.ET

MORE: Premier League table, CL & relegation battles

Europa League

Having defeated Europa League royalty in Sevilla last round, the Hammers now face another difficult test in Ligue 1 side Lyon. Lyon is struggling in Ligue 1 play, sitting 11th in the league thanks to inconsistent form, but the side is still a tricky matchup given their defeat of strong Portuguese opponents Porto in the last round.

Winning the tournament would see West Ham qualify for the Champions League, which may be their best hope given the competitiveness of the league. 

DraftKings has them as fifth favorites to go all the way at (+1200) whilst FiveThirtyEight has them at a 11% of reaching the final in Sevilla. 

Schedule:

Date  Stage Match Time
04/07/22 Quarterfinals Lyon (H) 3:00 p.m. ET
04/14/22 Quarterfinals Lyon (A) 3:00 p.m. ET

Have West Ham ever played in Champions League? Hammers in Europe

Whilst West Ham have never featured in the Champions League (European Cup) they have had some success on the continent in their history.

West Ham lifted the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1965, and the Intertoto Cup in 1999. In their recent history, the club has reached the qualification rounds of the Europa League in 2015 and 2016, but failed to reach the group stages on both occasions.

Cup Winners’ Cup

The 1964-65 Cup Winners’ Cup was their first taste of European action in which they earned with a FA Cup triumph the year previous. They triumphed at Wembley beating 1860 Munich 2-0 at Wembley. 

As reigning champions, they lost out a year later in the semi-finals of the 1965-66 season to Borussia Dortmund. They went onto reach the final in 1976 and the quarter finals in 1981. 

Intertoto Cup

Having qualified for the tournament after finishing fifth in the Premier League table, they won the tournament with a team full of young stars including Frank Lampard and Rio Ferdinand beating Metz 3-2 in the final.

This tournament helped them qualify for the UEFA Cup for the first time in their history.

UEFA Cup/Europa League

Having made their first appearance in the 1999-2000 season, this season marks their fifth season in the competition, with their last 16 tie against Sevilla proving to be the furthest they’ve ever been. 

With the tie against Sevilla, fans will be hoping the team can make history for the club by going all the way in what would be an incredible achievement for the club.