Everything you need to know about West Ham's next Europa League opponents Birkirkara of Malta

Europa League Final

A trip to the Mediterranean to face Maltese side Birkirkara awaits West Ham United in the second qualifying round of the Europa League.

The Hammers, who cruised to a comfortable 4-0 aggregate victory over Andorran minnows FC Lusitanos in round one, will take on Birkirkara after their own win against Ulisses.

The Maltese side beat their Armenian hosts 3-1, ensuring a preferable trip to Malta for Hammers fans.

West Ham were the first Premier League side to be back in competitive action after qualifying for Europe through the FIFA Fair Play rankings.

Shortest break, fastest starters?

While the early return to action meant the shortest summer break for any Premier League side in history, it does mean West Ham will be sharp and fit when the new season gets under way on August 9th.

The early qualifying rounds of the competition were always going to throw up some unknown opponents and interesting trips across the continent.

The lowdown on Birkirkara

But what do we know about Birkirkara?

First things first, more supporters will be able to travel over for the game as the club's Infetti Ground holds 2,500 fans - double that of FC Lusitanos.

Some might be thinking twice about making the trip, though, because 'Infetti' means 'infected' in Italian and is so named because the fields on which the stadium is built served as a graveyard for victims that had died from the plague in the past.

A pint will cost around €3 for domestic and imported beer. Anyone that does make the trip will need to bring their suntan lotion. Temperatures over there at the moment are averaging at a scorching 32°C.

It is the most populated town on the island, with 22,247 inhabitants.

On the pitch, Birkirkara have won the Maltese Premier League four times. They finished third last season and play in yellow and red, a similar kit to that of newly-promoted Premier League side Watford.

Like against Lusitanos, West Ham will be red hot favourites to qualify for the third qualifying round over two legs, the dates of which are yet to be confirmed.

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