West Ham: David Moyes vindication as Mohammed Kudus has fans dreaming of another European trophy

West Ham have a front three to potentially match the best sides in Europe (AFP via Getty Images)
West Ham have a front three to potentially match the best sides in Europe (AFP via Getty Images)

This was another big European night for West Ham and manager David Moyes.

While it cannot be considered on par with their big knockout wins over Lyon and Sevilla in this competition two years ago given Freiburg's limited quality, the way the Hammers dispatched the German side was impressively clinical and businesslike.

Lucas Paqueta's early goal settled the nerves and levelled the scores on aggregate, and the tie was effectively over by the 52nd minute when Aaron Cresswell made it 3-0 with a superb finish. In between, Jarrod Bowen scored a superb second, marking his England call-up with a first European goal of the season.

Mohammed Kudus capped the performance with two brilliant late goals, illustrating the quality in this Hammers team which the Germans simply could not live with.

The result was another vindication of sorts for Moyes, condemning West Ham's conversative display in German last week to history, and demonstrating again that the Scot has built a team which is increasingly experienced at navigating these ties.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Kudus steals the show

While this was a thoroughly professional team display, Kudus utterly stole the show with two superb late goals, particularly his first and West Ham's fourth.

Picking up the ball deep inside his own, the Ghanaian dribbled through three or four Freiburg players before coolly slotting the ball into the bottom corner.

It was a magnificent piece of individual quality, even if Freiburg had already thrown in the towel -- testament to West Ham's ruthlessness.

Kudus' second goal was also eye-catching, an unerring strike from more than 20 yards which flew past the goalkeeper and proved his last action of the game before he was substituted to a well-deserved standing ovation.

It is clear West Ham have a special player on their hands and if Moyes can find the right balance to get the best out of him, Paqueta and Bowen, in particular, West Ham have a front three to potentially match the best sides in Europe. That should give them huge optimism for the next round.

 (Nigel French/PA Wire)
(Nigel French/PA Wire)

So... can they win the Europa League?

"Champions of Europe," rang around the London Stadium after each West Ham goal and now they are in the quarter-finals, the question will inevitably turn to whether this West Ham side are good enough to conquer another European competition.

It will not be easy.

Liverpool are understandably overwhelming favourites for the Europa League this season, while unbeaten Bundesliga leaders Bayer Leverkusen and in-form Roma are unexpected to be among the clubs joining the Hammers in the last eight.

But one thing is certain: no-one will want to be paired with the Hammers in Friday's draw.

This was West Ham's 11 straight home win in Europe, a run in which they have now scored 30 goals. The London Stadium is increasingly a fortress for Moyes' side in continental matches and, despite concerns over ticket sales for the 5.45pm kick-off, it was packed and rocking after each goal.

West Ham's home form and the experience in the Conference League last year should give them confidence that they can go one better this season.