West Ham were well beaten by Mainz at the weekend and it is hard to see how Sam Allardyce’s men will avoid another defeat when they tackle former Tottenham star Rafael van der Vaart and his Hamburg team-mates on Tuesday evening.
The 4-1 reverse against Thomas Tuchel’s men was the first blot on the Hammers’ pre-season copy book, having previously beaten Cork City, Boreham Wood, Bournemouth and Colchester.
Mainz provided a step up in class but more importantly, a step up in fitness – the Bundesliga season starts a week earlier than the resumption of the Premier League – that was too much for West Ham to handle.
The run-out would have done Big Sam’s troops the world of good, but there is likely to be a similar physical mismatch when they take the field against Hamburg on neutral ground in Flensburg.
That is reflected in the prices on offer, with Van der Vaart and company rated as strong 3/4 favourites, with the draw chalked up at 27/10 and West Ham out at 11/4 for the win.
We are offering a money-back special on the game, too, whereby we will refund losing single bets on the correct score market if the Irons manage to keep a clean sheet (see the offer by clicking here).
This may attract some attention as Hamburg failed to score in two 60-minute Telekom Cup matches against Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund in their most recent outings.
But judging by West Ham’s dreadful record away from Upton Park last term – just 13 points in 19 games – the smart money must surely be on a victory for the Germans.
Hamburg are a superior side to Mainz, having finished six places above them in the Bundesliga in 2012/13, and the 3/4 that they show it by inflicting a second straight defeat on the Hammers is the play.