Jarrod Bowen likely to be fit for West Ham’s Europa League clash with Leverkusen

By Sports Desk April 17, 2024

Jarrod Bowen looks set to be fit for West Ham’s bid for an unlikely Europa League comeback against new Bundesliga champions Bayer Leverkusen.

The Hammers’ 19-goal top scorer missed the 2-0 quarter-final first-leg defeat in Germany, and Sunday’s Premier League loss at home to Fulham, with a hip injury.

But Bowen took part in training at West Ham’s Rush Green HQ on Wednesday morning and hopes are high that he will be available against Leverkusen.

Manager David Moyes said: “It was great to see Jarrod out there.

“We’re not sure yet. I would never risk a player if I thought they were injured but you always want your best players back in, your goalscorers as well, and Jarrod has been that this season.”

The news is a major boost to the Hammers as they attempt to inflict a first defeat of the season on Xabi Alonso’s Leverkusen.

But they will be without key Brazilian midfielder Lucas Paqueta through suspension after he was booked in Germany.

“Most people know exactly what Jarrod has done for us over the season and others. It would give us and the crowd a real lift,” Moyes said.

“We’ve lost Lucas through suspension, and had Jarrod out through injury. We have to find ways of making magic happen.”

Left-back Emerson Palmieiri is also suspended while centre-half Konstantinos Mavropanos is a doubt.

Leverkusen secured a first league title in their history when they beat Werder Bremen 5-0 on Sunday, and Moyes hopes the celebrations went on long into the night – and maybe spilled into the start of the week.

“Rightly so, why would you not celebrate?” he said. “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!”

Goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski, who turns 39 on Thursday, hopes West Ham can lean on their experience of making unlikely comebacks.

Fabianski was in the Hammers team who were 3-0 down at Tottenham with 10 minutes to go in 2020, and hit back to draw 3-3.

“I think the confidence that we can take is from the experiences in recent years, games where we have been down and come back,” the former Poland international said.

“The Spurs game is one of the best examples,  being 3-0 down and to score three in 10-15 minutes.

“We’ve experienced some great moments as a team in recent history and that will help us prepare mentally for (Thursday’s) game.”

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