UEFA Europa League play-off draw: West Ham face Astra once again
West Ham United is one step away from qualifying for the UEFA Europa League group stage but a familiar foe stands in the way: Astra Giurgiu.
The reigning Romanian champions knocked the Hammers out of the Europa League in the third qualifying round last season and now Slaven Bilic’s side have a chance for revenge.
After getting past Slovakian side NK Domzale 4-2 on aggregate in the third qualifying round this season, West Ham have high hopes to bring European soccer to the new London Stadium in the 2016-17 season.
[ MORE: UEL qualifying roundup ]
A 56,000 sellout at the former Olympic stadium -- West Ham’s new stadium after they relocated from their 112-year home at Upton Park over the summer -- saw them seal their spot for the Europa League play-off round but now they must overcome a talented Astra outfit who dropped down from the UEFA Champions League qualifying stages after losing to FC Copenhagen.
Other notable ties see Slavia Prague and Anderlecht clash, while Fenerbache face Grasshopper Zurich and Brondby do battle with Panathinaikos.
The first legs will take place on Aug. 18, with the second legs to take place on Aug. 25. The 22 winners of these ties will then be part of the Europa League group stage draw which takes place in Monaco on Aug. 25.
Premier League sides Manchester United and Southampton have already qualified for the Europa League group stage.
UEFA Europa League play-off draw