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German set to play against former club Villa on opening day...

West Ham United midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger is eagerly awaiting the start of the new Premier League season, which should see the German make his debut for his new club against his former employers Aston Villa.

The 28-year-old graduated out of the Birmingham-based club's youth academy and spent four years in England before making a move to Stuttgart in 2005. And following a four-year spell in his homeland and a short but not so sweet stint at Lazio, the midfielder joined the east London club.

Following the recent announcement of the fixtures for next season, Hitzlsperger is raring to have a go at his former club on the opening day.

"I am looking forward to it, [it will] be good to go back there," he said on the club's official website. "I made over 100 appearances for them in the time I was there and it was great, but I am looking forward to going there as a West Ham player and helping my new club to hopefully get a good result.

"These are matches that stand out of course for many people, supporters, but all games I am looking forward to.

"They are tough opponents because they are [among] the best teams in the league but we will take every game as it comes, whoever we are playing and I am just looking forward to playing everyone we come up against."

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