17.04.2024 19:33 h

Moyes hopes Leverkusen's celebrations benefit West Ham

West Ham manager David Moyes hopes Bayer Leverkusen's Bundesliga title celebrations lead to a hangover in Thursday's Europa League quarter-final second leg.

Leverkusen's 5-0 win over Werder Bremen on Sunday secured the club's maiden German crown as they broke Bayern Munich's 11-year grip on the trophy.

Having finally banished their unwanted 'Neverkusen' nickname, a tag that haunted them during decades of failure, Bayer head to east London looking to move a step closer to another piece of silverware.

Immediately after their 43rd straight match without defeat, Leverkusen boss Xabi Alonso challenged his team to complete the treble.

They are already in the German Cup final against second tier Kaiserslautern on May 25 and face West Ham at the London Stadium with a 2-0 lead from the first leg in Germany.

Well aware of Leverkusen's quality, Moyes joked that Alonso's players spending a night or two celebrating the title would be the best thing for West Ham's hopes of a second leg comeback.

"Rightly so, why would you not celebrate?" Moyes told reporters on Wednesday.

"To be the champions, you should celebrate, you should enjoy it because the moments go very quickly.

"I hope they've been downing those big giant glasses of beer they get in Germany!"

But former Liverpool midfielder Alonso had bad news for Moyes as the Spaniard made it clear his side would put aside the title party to focus on their European campaign.

Asked if his players had partied after last weekend's triumph, Alonso said: "A few of them, probably. But not too many. We had control.

"For sure it was a moment to enjoy it. On Sunday we knew we had a chance so we took one day, in case of winning, to enjoy it.

"But from Tuesday our mind has been focused on West Ham. Now it's the Europa League and we have a great chance to make a great season even better.

"The commitment, the way we've trained, give me reasons to believe we will play well tomorrow."

West Ham have an impressive European pedigree under Moyes after winning the Europa Conference League last season and reaching the Europa League semi-finals in 2022.

Alonso knows the Hammers can't be underestimated despite Leverkusen's first leg advantage.

"We have big challenges ahead. West Ham have good players, they have recent experience of beating Freiburg. We need to put in our best performance," Alonso said.

"I don't have any feeling that our mentality will be any different from the one that has given us this chance to reach the semi-final."