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Freiburg 1-2 West Ham: Nayef Aguerd's headed winner sees Hammers set new English European record

Match report from the Europa League Group A match between Freiburg and West Ham in Germany as the Hammers set a new English record of 17 consecutive European matches unbeaten; Nayef Aguerd heads in second-half winner after Roland Sallai had cancelled out Lucas Paqueta's early opener

Lucas Paqueta is congratulated by his team-mates after putting West Ham in front at Freiburg
Image: Lucas Paqueta celebrates scoring West Ham's opener in their 2-1 Europa League win at Freiburg

West Ham set a new English record of 17 consecutive European matches unbeaten with a 2-1 win at Freiburg to maintain their perfect start to this season’s Europa League.

Nayef Aguerd's second-half headed winner made it two wins from two for the Hammers, who sit top of Group A, three points clear of the Bundesliga side.

Lucas Paqueta gave West Ham an eighth-minute lead in Germany with a downward header, but the goal was met with silence due to no away fans being in attendance at the Europa Park Stadion because of a UEFA ban following incidents during June's Europa Conference League final win in Prague.

The visitors were then made to pay for not capitalising further on a dominant first-half display when Freiburg equalised four minutes into the second half through Roland Sallai.

The Irons, however, went back ahead in the 66th minute thanks to Aguerd as he nodded home from James Ward-Prowse's superb corner.

The victory means West Ham go one clear of the European records set by Don Revie's Leeds in the 1960s, Bill Nicholson's 1970s Tottenham side and Pep Guardiola's Manchester City.

How West Ham set a new English European record

West Ham's assignment in Germany was made tougher before kick-off in the knowledge that they would be up against 34,000 noisy fans with no away supporters allowed at the game.

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But Paqueta quietened down the home support after just eight minutes with a towering downward header from Jarrod Bowen's cross, who hours before kick-off had been recalled to the England squad for this month's fixtures.

West Ham came close to doubling their lead when Mohammed Kudus saw his low shot fumbled onto the post by Freiburg goalkeeper Noah Atubolu.

Paqueta then had a goal disallowed for offside after finishing powerfully into the roof of the net from Pablo Fornals' driving run into the box.

The Hammers, though, failed to punish the home side's poor first-half performance further and Freiburg took advantage shortly after the restart through Sallai.

West Ham goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski made a fine double save to first deny Sallai and then Lukas Kubler's follow-up, but the rebound from his second save fell to Sallai who made no mistake on his second attempt as he lashed home.

Buoyed by their equaliser, Freiburg nearly took the lead as Kiliann Sildillia's header at the back post cannoned off the far post and then Lucas Holer somehow blazed the rebound over from close range.

But just 10 minutes later, West Ham retook the lead thanks to Aguerd's powerful header as he met Ward-Prowse's inswinging corner to beat Atubolu and crash in a goal off the underside of the bar.

Bowen did miss a late chance to make the victory safe as he put wide when through on goal, but the Irons held on to put themselves firmly in control of Group A.

Moyes praises 'maverick' Paqueta | Record 'brilliant achievement'

West Ham boss David Moyes saluted his "maverick" forward Lucas Paqueta after the win, even though he drives him mad.

"It was a bit of an old-fashioned goal, down the side with a good cross, and then a great header like an old-fashioned centre-forward. I really enjoyed watching it," said Moyes.

"Jarrod played well but Lucas was terrific. He drives me mad sometimes but everybody who watched him would have said this player has got incredible talent.

"There is a word that goes around, a maverick. He is that for us.

"It is really important we get him in and adapt to him and accept some of his things he may not do, things which I would say are conventional.

"But we are really enjoying him at the moment and he is terrific at taking the ball under pressure - but also there are moments when I say: 'What are you doing?'"

On making it 17 matched undefeated in Europe, a record for an English club, Moyes said: "It's a brilliant achievement, I've said to the boys we need to keep it going. Winning the game tonight was most important.

"I'm really pleased. We played very well especially, in the opening 20 or 30 minutes.

"They came back, which I expected. They got better and we had moments when we played very well but we mainly won the first half. We had to then be good defensively."

Opta stats: West Ham record first win in Germany

  • West Ham have won a European away game in Germany for the very first time, having failed to win any of their previous such matches (D1 L3).
  • West Ham are unbeaten in 17 consecutive matches in all European competitions (W16 D1, including qualifiers), the longest run by an English team.
  • West Ham's Jarrod Bowen has been directly involved in 12 goals (eight goals, four assists) in major European competitions since the start of 2021-22, only Jude Bellingham (15) has been involved in more among English players in that time.
  • West Ham's Nayef Aguerd scored his first ever European goal on his 20th such appearance, becoming the fifth Moroccan scorer for an English club in major European competition after Mustapha Hadji for Aston Villa, Marouane Chamakh for Arsenal, Romain Saiss for Wolves and Hakim Ziyech for Chelsea.
  • West Ham's James Ward-Prowse registered his sixth assist of the season in all competitions, more than any other Premier League player in 2023-24.

What's next?

Live Bundesliga

West Ham return to Premier League action on Sunday as they host Newcastle, kick-off 2pm. Their next Europa League Group A fixture sees them travel to Greece to face Olympiakos on Thursday October 26, kick-off 5.45pm.

Freiburg are in Bundesliga action on Sunday as they visit champions Bayern Munich, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 4.30pm.

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