Matchday 36 of West Ham United’s epic European adventure is also going to be one of the toughest that David Moyes has encountered during his side’s fantastic three-year, cross-channel campaign.

Unbeaten all in 41 league and cup games so far this season, Bayer Leverkusen are also 16 points clear of the pack in their domestic Bundesliga.

But the Hammers boss is relishing tonight’s contest with the Germans at the Bay Arena (8pm)

“I see this as a great opportunity,” said the Scot ahead of the UEFA Europa League quarter-final, first-leg tie.

“We’ve had a good run in Europe and played some good teams before and, for me, it’s irrelevant that they’re at the top of the Bundesliga and we’re ‘only’ seventh in the Premier League.

“Sure Bayer Leverkusen are a good side who are enjoying a good season but there’s no point looking at league tables because this is an even game at the start with 11 players versus 11.

“Our European record is good – we’ve finished top in every one of our group stages and have now reached the quarter-finals for three successive seasons, too. Sure, it’s going to be a difficult game but I’m looking forward to it.”

Certainly, the task facing the Hammers is made yet more tricky by the absence of talisman and club-record European goalscorer, Jarrod Bowen, who suffered a back injury in the 2-1 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux on Saturday.

“Jarrod will always be a miss because he’s scored some memorable goals in Europe – including, of course, the winner against Fiorentina in Prague – and he also played well for England in their two recent matches, too," added Moyes.

“There are big demands on individuals these days and these things happen. That’s football.

"There’s no date at the moment for Jarrod’s return - he twisted and damaged his back, which is a similar injury to those suffered in cricket by fast bowlers,” added the stumped Moyes, who is also without Alphonse Areola (groin), Kalvin Phillips (hamstring) and Edson Álvarez (suspended). 

“We’ve also got to find a way for covering for Edson but, equally, we’ve still got players like Mohammed Kudus, who has been important for us all season having joined from Ajax and settled in incredibly well.

“And, of course, we’ve got Lucas Paquetá who brings some crucial attributes to the team. We’re really pleased to have got him to his best.

"Lucas is an established Brazilian international, who’s got so much individual ability and he’s a very important player for us, too.

“I’m just going to be asking my players to show their tactical understanding, leadership and composure, while also remembering that this is a two-legged tie with the return at London Stadium next Thursday.

“Hopefully, they can rise to the challenge.”