West Ham United face their toughest European assignment of the season against Bayer Leverkusen tonight but skipper Kurt Zouma insists their depleted side have nothing to fear at the Bay Arena.

“Sure, they haven’t lost for such a long time and it’s going to be a tough game but we’re still confident that we can do something against them,” said the Hammers skipper ahead of their Europa League quarter-final, first-leg meeting with the Germans, who are unbeaten in all 41 league and cup matches this campaign.

“It’s going to be a challenge because Bayer Leverkusen have done so well this season in both the Bundesliga and Europe but we also know what we’ve got in our team and how well we can play.”

The 11-cap French international leads his side out without record European goalscorer Jarrod Bowen (back), Alphonse Areola (groin), Kalvin Phillips (hamstring) and Edson Álvarez (suspended), who all remained back in London.

“Yes, it’s unfortunate we’re missing some players, but we’ve still got a very good squad and, hopefully, we’ll show everyone that against Bayer Leverkusen," he added.

"Tactically, we’ve got to be spot-on but whatever happens, we all play this game to win and it will be no different in this match.

“Hopefully, it’ll be a good game for us and we’ll get a good result.”

Central defender Zouma watched skipper Declan Rice collect the UEFA Europa Conference League trophy in Prague last June, following the Hammers wonderful win over Italian side Fiorentina.

And having been handed the armband following the England international’s summer departure to Arsenal, he would clearly love to emulate that feat on the winners’ podium in Dublin next month.

“It’s a huge honour to be captain of West Ham United,” smiles the 29-year-old, who has made 95 appearances in a claret and blue shirt following his £30m move from Chelsea in August 2021.

“As a kid growing up in France, it was always my dream to be made a captain and I’m very proud to be the leader of a great group of top players.

“I’ve been through lots of ups and downs over the past couple of years or so but I’ve had good people around to help me – my family, coaches and both present and former team-mates - and I’m now living the moment and enjoying my football.

“We’ve done well in Europe in our last two seasons so, hopefully, we can repeat things for a third year, too,” added Zouma as he prepares to face Xabi Alonso’s side, who are 16 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga.

“It’s not only a dream, it’s an objective for me to lift the UEFA Europa League trophy. Anything is possible in football.”