Hapoel Beer Sheva vs Maribor
2017/18 UEFA Champions League Play-off
Date: Wednesday, 16th August 2017
Kick-off at 19:45 UK/ 20:45 CET
Venue: Turner Stadium, Beer Sheva.
Hapoel Beer Sheva are fast becoming a footballing powerhouse in Israel. They have also made a name for themselves in European competitions since their first entry in 2014/15 season.
Last season saw Hapoel knocking out Greek giants Olympiacos from the Champions League qualifiers before bowing out to Celtic in the play-offs. However, this earned them their first ever group stage appearance at the Europa League. They even managed to get past the group stage from a group included Inter Milan and Southampton. Their run was halted by Turkish side Besiktas in the first knockout round. And this time, this will want to go a step further and make it to the Champions League group stages.
Hapoel defeated Honoved from Hungary and Ludogorets from Bulgaria in the previous two rounds of this season’s qualifiers. However, their 3-1 away defeat at Ludogorets in the third round cannot be taken lightly.
NK Maribor were made to work hard by their opponents in each of the two qualifying ties so far this season. They managed to squeeze past Bosnian side Zrinjski on a 3-2 aggregate, whereas Icelandic minnows Hafnarfjordur were beaten by 2-0 aggregate. It is not at all convincing for a side like Maribor and they need to lift their game against a side like Hapoel.
Interestingly, Maribor’s last appearance at the Champions League came at the expense of an Israeli team. In 2014/15, they defeated Hapoel’s arch rivals Maccabi Tel-Aviv 3-2 on aggregate (1-0 home and 2-2 away). Meantime, they were beaten by Maccabi Haifa in the third round of the 2011/12 qualifiers.
Hapoel Beer Sheva vs Maribor: Head-to-head
- This is the first meeting between the sides in a UEFA competition.
- Maribor’s record against teams from Israeli is 1 win, 2 draws and 1 loss from 4 matches.
- This is Hapoel’s first match against a team from Slovenia.
Hapoel Beer Sheva vs Maribor: Prediction
Beer-Sheva can be considered as an attacking minded team and they are coming on the back of some interesting numbers at the Tuner Stadium. They won all their five previous Champions League qualifying matches at home, scoring a minimum of two goals on four occasions. Maribor are in decent form, but could fall short, in what supposed to be a difficult stadium for most teams.